At the heart of the Christmas story is a mother and her child. So simple, but on reflection full of meaning.
I’m following an Advent series of meditations and it has prompted me to think about how Mary cuddling her new born child is a beautiful picture of the closeness our Father wants to have with us - God who came close to us in Jesus his Son at his first coming, and who promises to be closer still, even “all in all”, at his second advent still to come.
In those early days after his birth, Mary would have held the baby to her heart as closely and tenderly as she could, as mothers have done from the beginning of time.
Did you know (I didn’t) that mothers will instinctively cradle a baby to their left side, whether they are right or left handed, so that the baby will hear her heart beating and be settled? So the infant Jesus would have found a settling peace close to the loving heartbeat of Mary. God’s love, in his Son, is meeting humanity’s love, in Mary.
Love flowing two ways.
David, the Psalmist, paints a similar beautiful picture of a settling and child-like communion with God in Psalm 131, where he writes:
“I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.”
Isn’t that a gorgeous image, of a child-like vulnerability and communion, which we can all share? Even in the busy-ness and the stress of life we can allow ourselves to be held, and rested, in God’s love, just as a child is held and quieted by its mother.
And isn’t it wonderful to think that Jesus has been there before us, held and comforted, calmed and quieted, like ‘a weaned child with its mother’. The heart of God’s love, contented, close to the heart of humanity, in the stable at Bethlehem.
By Jan (with acknowledgements to Brian Draper)