Even Jesus gets “Hi, Baby” in our House

In these last days of the liturgical year, our Sunday Gospels have reminded us of the wonder of simplicity : the budding leaves of a fig tree, the giving of two small coins, the loving of God and neighbor.  These seemingly limited, small activities are extraordinary signs—signs of the coming kingdom of God and our steadfast preparation for it.

I’ve been focusing a bit more upon that which is small with the help of one who is small who lives in my house.  My daughter has turned one year old, and with the wisdom of one year she greets every corner of her world with joy and wonder.  A teaspoon is a prized, technological marvel which she can grasp with her own small hand.  An improvised I-IV-V blues chord progression on our living room piano is not only occasion for joyous “singing” (something like “AaaaAaaaaAAA”) but vigorous clapping.  Dollies, stuffed animals, and real life children are all greeted with a delighted “Hi, Bebee!” (Hi, Baby!) and, depending on how rambunctious we’re feeling, a hug and a “kiss.”

This greeting, “Hi, Bebee!” in fact, has been extended beyond the three-dimensional world.  We’ve noticed her greeting faces in photographs and picture books with these same words of welcome.  Yet, my daughter surprised me, a few days ago when, as I carried her through our kitchen, she called out, Cristo Art Print featuring the painting Cristo Salvator Mundi by Quentin Massys“Hi, Bebee!”  I looked to where she was pointing, and was surprised to see her staring with her happy baby smile at our parish calendar—she had just greeted an image of Jesus.  Specifically, she was looking at Cristo Salvator Mundi, painted by the Flemish artist, Quentin Massys, at the end of the 15th century.  This particular image of Jesus, with his stately blessing and cross-topped scepter, was included in our parish calendar in honor of Christ the King.

I paused, considering what my daughter was seeing—and saying.  Objectively, yes, Jesus fits the bill for whatever “baby” means to my little girl.  On the other hand, while we have plenty of pop Christmas songs about a “newborn king,” we don’t often think of Christ, the King, as a newborn baby.  We humans can easily imagine time as linear, with the logical progression of a child growing Image result for Christ the newborn kingolder, a child who would “become” the savior of the world.  But, on the other hand, time doesn’t work that way for God.  Christ the King is the same Christ as the miracle of the Incarnation, who is the same Christ who, we hope, will welcome us into the kingdom of heaven at the end of time.  Christ is both a man and our God in the same moment—both the beginning and the end.

So, yes, my little baby, Jesus is a little baby.  Perhaps we all, no matter how old, big, or far removed from simplicity, are little babies, too: babies who need care, patience, and the simple warmth of a joyful embrace of love.



One comment

  1. Thanks for your reflection.

    Which raises this question for me: When did Jesus become our Savior? At the Incarnation? From eternity?

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