Christmas day 2011

When a child is born

When a child is born, the good news spreads quickly. If a man is relating the news it is a curious fact that he is only interested if the newborn is a boy or a girl; women want to know what weight the baby was, the baby’s name(s), the intensity and duration of the labour, the time of birth, and how the mother is afterwards. Men and women therefore have completely different perspectives on childbirth, probably because men will never experience it.

The good news of Christmas is, of course, the birth of Christ.

But details are few. We do not know his weight, the duration of Mary’s labour (if any), or anything about her recuperation. We do know that he was born in a manger in Bethlehem in the middle of the night, and we know His name.
These two facts alone are hugely significant.

Firstly, a long-standing tradition has it that Jesus was born in the middle of winter in the middle of the night. Now, we ourselves have little control over labour and child-birth, apart from induced births. But God has. And isn’t it interesting that He chose that His Son would be born at the darkest hour of the year, in order to be our light?

And so it is that in all the darkness we experience, external or internal, God wishes to be our light of hope and joy, our light at the end of the tunnel?

Secondly, Jesus is called ‘Emmanuel’, a Hebrew name meaning ‘God-is-with-us’. We choose the names of children after much thought – after a relative, friend, or a saint’s name. The choice of our name is something not taken lightly, because after all we carry it for life.

When we combine these two bits of information that we do possess we realise that God is with us in our darkest hour.

Is there anything else we need to know?

Happy Christmas 2011.

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