Regardless of our supernatural beliefs, many of us have adopted the Christmas traditions. Most of us have an advent calendar in their home, like a lovely Christmas tree, a warm meal shared with family and dear friends, the anticipation, and the joy of preparing a surprise for these we love… and who does not enjoy receiving presents?
Many parents and grandparents find themselves tearing up when they think of baby Jesus and see how similar he was to their own beloved children and grandchildren.
Maybe someone is led to realise how good they have it as compared to Mary and Joseph, forced to travel and to organise a stable-birth, in the cold and far from home. Forget hospitals and birthing centres, of course.
But the most striking thing of all is so amazing that, most of the times, it remains hidden in plain sight. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, as much as you enjoy the lights, the presents, and the company, so can you enjoy the one and only perfect parenting story of history.
Yes because Jesus is God made man. Which means that Christmas is the story of a father that finds the only way to connect with his melting-down child.
You know when you give up your Netflix night to sit there and be with your child that got suspended from school for some really embarrassing reason? Or when you abandon your lovely hot coffee cup (the only one you managed to put your hands on today) to get down on your knees and give your child the hug they are begging for, after falling from climbing the slide the wrong way up (had you not warned him a million times?). Or when you let go of the idea of having a shower today because there is only one place your poorly baby can cope with life today, and that’s on you.
Think all of that and so much more, but at a cosmic level. And at immeasurable cost: like if you are infinite and you decide to make yourself finite, because that’s the only way your child can see you.
As if you were that all-powerful, all-wonderful, all-present person and you accept to go through the constraints of being human, because that’s the only way you can talk to your child and show them how things should be done. For their own sake and for the sake of everything, really. You go the whole way, including following the process of squeezing first meconium, the yellow poo, and finally brown solid poo out of your bowels. Making yourself terribly vulnerable and putting yourself in the most dangerous and uncomfortable places.
And that is just the beginning. You do all that knowing full well that the worst part is still to come. Knowing ('cause you are all-knowledgeable too) that your child will not only not get you, but also make fun of you, insult you, torture you and kill you.
You get down to their level to give them a chance.
Because you love them.
Christmas is the story of this kind of parental love.
At the very least, it is a powerful narrative that has survived through the ages to come and inspire us, pandemic parents of 2021.
At best, the story is true...