Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Maybe it's because I had a baby near Christmas, and maybe it's simply to do with bringing up children, whenever their birthdays are: but there's a place that I go to in my imagination to ask unanswerable questions about first times.

I wonder about Jesus's firsts.

When Jesus first smiled, I wonder who he was looking at?  When he first crawled, what was he trying to reach? What was his first word, and did anybody other than his parents understand it?  When he drew his first face, whose did he say that it was?  (Abigail's was Thomas the Tank Engine.  So much for sentimentality.)

I wonder what Jesus's first taste of solid food was, and whether he liked it.  I wonder what it was that made GodOnEarth give his first laugh.  Which song was his first attempt at singing?  Who was there to witness his first steps?  Which earthly object was the very first one to be pointed out by God's pudgy human finger?

The thing that I love about all these questions is that they all have answers.  We will never know the answers, but because GodMadeMan existed in a physical time and place on this planet, the answers to those questions exist, too.

That's why asking those questions has the same effect on me as my first visit to Pompei did.  I was about fifteen.  I remember standing in an immaculate, almost complete building, surrounded by beautiful wall paintings, and being told that the building had been standing for about a hundred years before the volcano erupted in 70AD; which meant that it had been standing for thirty years before the birth of Christ.  It made me think, "It wasn't that long ago".  And, although the place had nothing archeologically to do with Jesus, it made me think, "It really happened.  He was really here."

That snapshot of memory returns whenever I hear the words, 'Emmanuel - God with us.'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's really interesting (and quite beautiful - maybe you could make a Christmas poem out of it?)

I hadn't really thought about those questions before. Although I have thought about Jesus' early childhood from a different perspective: that of sin and sinlessness. Did he have tantrums, say no to adults, snatch toys and refuse to share, spill food on purpose, keep getting out of bed in the night? If he didn't, I find it hard to see him as fully human (even harder than seeing a flawless adult as fully human). If he did, that means those things aren't sinful, which raises the question: at what age and stage of development does normal human selfishness and foolishness become sinful?

Rachael x