Sweet Baby Jesus
A couple days past Christmas, and I’m still wondering about the baby’s birth. I’m wondering how I celebrated an entire holiday devoted to Jesus being born, and thought so little about him.
Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is lovely. I love being with my family. I love giving and receiving little gifts. I love all of the smells and sounds and general trying-to-be-joyful-ness.
(This year for my Daddy I wrapped up a couple blocks of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano–the real stuff that you can only get from an Italian deli. Papa Joe was so overjoyed he almost jumped out of his skin. Proud Italians, we are.)
To be sure, the most honest moment I had with Baby Jesus happened a few nights ago as I fell asleep. Feeling like a jerk for mostly ignoring him on his birthday, I tried to imagine my awkward self standing near that ancient manger. I pictured myself picking up Baby J. and just holding him.
And then I did something I didn’t mean to do. As I held him I asked him loads of questions that I knew a baby couldn’t answer. (What am I to do with my unfulfilled desires, et cetera.) I just kept on cradling and talking, anyway.
Following that weird prayer moment I saw the baby growing up. In an instant our roles reversed. Cliche as it might be, I saw myself turn into the wordless little one that he then held in his strong arms.
I think that polaroid in my mind was a tender way of wise baby Jesus telling me to just live the questions now. I am glad he was born.
You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you…as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. -Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet, Letter 4)
(Photo by Whizchickenonabun)