On this day, many of my friends and neighbors celebrated the birth of a child so special, they’ve built their whole lives around his existence.
I respect and admire the reverence of Christian theology, and I’ve come to realize that there are lessons within the story of Christ’s birth that resonate with me, as a Jew, as a mother, as a person.
The importance of Christmas is not in the way that this holiday feeds our economy or in the pretty lights we like to drive around looking at. It’s not about the sing-song music on 100.3 FM or the glitz of parties or the exchange of gifts.
Its very existence depends upon the story of a baby’s birth in the countryside of the Middle East, a birth so significant as to bring evidence of God’s love for humanity to the world as we know it. This birth, the story tells, brings with it the salvation of all humans who see the miracle in his existence.
I couldn’t wait to be a mother. Of all my goals in life – write a book, be published in national magazines, fall in love, travel – becoming a mother topped the list. It wasn’t to claim a child as *mine* – it was to nurture, love and encourage a new life so precious, so fragile, so special that I had to treat it with incredible care.
I’ve been a mother now for nearly 12 years, and I can honestly say that my life gained so much meaning when I gave birth to a precious little soul. Everything else takes a back seat to this miracle, to all three miracles.
Sometimes we forget that we are living in a miracle. And a holy day can bring that back into focus.
The miracle in a birth is manifold. First, the idea that a living, breathing creature is conceived and emerges with all organs and necessary parts in a mere nine months truly is miraculous. So quickly! So perfect! So many details taken care of!
And then, the real comparison comes when we realize (if we realize!) that this child has all the knowledge and wisdom of the world right at the start. They lose that brilliance of focus as they age and we ruin them, life ruins them – by creating distance, by getting hurt, by insisting on a protective layer just in case.
Babies love wholly. They nestle close. They don’t see race or religion or bank statements. They don’t play emotional games.
They cry fully. They laugh from the belly. They hold on tight. They sleep deeply. It’s all so real.
And that is where the salvation comes from. Being real. Being honest. Being raw.
Isn’t that what the Christ child brought to the world?
So if that’s the story, I am all for it. But the real lesson is that salvation is here on earth, if we choose to see it.