A new year is fast approaching, and each year it becomes harder to self generate much hope. This world is black and blue; even more than bruised, it is bloody and broken. And there is also the conflict of the struggle against the darkness in ourselves. What remains is that which we have already attempted to repair; the striving and straining that leaves us at the end of our own efforts.
It is into this bleak winter that God again shows up on our doorstep. In utter simplicity He lays the baby down. His Son, payment for our sin-filled condition. What is there about this baby that batters the inner walls I have erected to protect myself? The little hands and feet — the vulnerability. There seems to be nothing that God would not stoop to, to get my attention. His heart full of tenderness, expressed in a child. Ever ready to forgive. We have little hope in ourselves, but good cause for hope in such a God of new beginnings.
This poem by George Macdonald can perhaps apply to baby Jesus entering our world.
Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.
Where did you get those eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.
What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the Starry spikes left in.
Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.
What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.
What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than any one knows.
Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.
Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.
Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into bonds and bands.
Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherub’s wings.
How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.
But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you, and so I am here.