Most amazing gift of all

Anne Hunt

Christmas is surely the most loved time of the year for billions of people across the world; be they Christian believers or not, it is a time of feasting and a time of gift-giving. In our gift-giving we commemorate the greatest gift of all, an astonishing gift that is almost too great to believe.

For we Christians believe that God, in the person of Jesus Christ, became human, fully human, one like us in all things but sin. And like all of us, he began his human life as a baby.

Seeing a new baby always prompts me to ponder how truly extraordinary it is that God became a baby – helpless, vulnerable and, like all babies, totally dependent on its carers.

I think of Mary and Joseph, full of joy and wonder, bursting with love, beholding the baby Jesus. I can imagine Joseph, full of faith and love, tenderly caressing the child, and Mary lovingly nursing the babe, pondering all these things in her heart.

When serving as a Holy Communion volunteer in a hospital, my greatest delight was to find among my list of patients to be visited those who were in the maternity ward. It was such a great privilege and pleasure to visit those parents and to share their joy in the arrival of their child into the world.

I would find the baby there with them, often just a few hours old. It was like Christmas every time! Such a joy! I would marvel to see the parents, utterly besotted, literally falling in love with the baby before my very eyes.

In their presence, there was always a palpable sense of awe, of mystery, and of wonder.

We would then pray together a prayer of blessing over the babe. The parents would often shed a tear or two. Our prayer would be full of gratitude for this new life andfull of hope for all that this babe would experience in life. How very much parents want the very best for their child.

But how much more, how very much more, more than we can hardly dare to believe, does God lovingly look upon us! And how much more does God want for each one of us to be happy, to live life to the full, to develop our gifts and talents and achieve our potential, to be loved and to be loving, and to know how greatly we are loved and treasured by God.

All this we celebrate on this great feast: the mystery of creation, the mystery of life itself, and the greatest mystery of all – that God became human, shared fully in our humanity, and all this for love of us, that we might live forevermore as children of God. As an early mystic encapsulated it: He became human that we might become divine. This is the greatest gift of all that we celebrate at Christmas.

Anne Hunt

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