Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pondering the Incarnate

What's up with this photo?

     This Christmas season, my two year-old Thomas has been asking me all kinds of deep, philosophical questions about Christ Incarnate.

     Like, Did Jesus have a pee-pee?

     Now, I’m used to my kids attacking me with inquiries from way out in left field (and sometimes from way out in the bleachers as well). And I know it’s perfectly natural for a little boy to wonder about the anatomy of the Christ Child, who was in fact another little boy. But there are some questions that just don’t seem very reverent to ask about Mary’s perfect, sinless child.

     I hardly wondered about Baby Jesus when I was younger. I knew Who He was, I knew Where He had come from, and I knew why He had come. What was left to ponder?

     Then I had sons of my own and started to imagine what it would be like to have a child who was truly perfect. Jesus the Baby had no sin nature whatsoever. Does that mean the carol is right after all, and Mary and Joseph looked at each other a few days after Jesus’ birth and remarked, “Wow, what a great baby! No crying He makes!”?

     Jesus was perfectly sinless, but He was also flesh and blood. So did Jesus spit up on Jospeh? Did He give Mary a little morning shower when she went to see if His swaddling cloth was dry? Did He get colic and keep His parents up all night with His shrieking?

     What about His circumcision? Did Jesus scream His head off in pain and anger? Did He spend the next few days fussier than normal? And what about nursing? Did Jesus cry whenever He got hungry, even though as God He must have known Mary was busy at times and couldn’t tend to Him right away? Did His cries get louder and louder the longer Mary tarried, as if it were possible for God in the flesh to demonstrate impatience? If Mary’s ducts got clogged, did Jesus heal them immediately with a thought, or did He just holler because He was hungry and wasn't getting what He wanted?

     And what about His life as a toddler? Did Jesus cry when He scraped His knee? If Joseph tried to comfort Him, did Jesus pout and demand Mommy instead? Could the just and perfect Divine have had a favored parent?

     Did the Christ Toddler get scared? Did He cry during storms? Did He cling to His mother's skirts whenever Mary tried to leave Him for a few hours with friends or relatives so she could go shopping at the market or fix Joseph up a nice dinner without the "help" of an active two year-old?

     Jesus was sinless, but He was born into a weak body. Did He get sick just as often as the other children in Nazareth? Or was His body naturally stronger because it was free from sin and its consequences? Did Jesus have many friends as He grew up? Did He play with his neighbors? Could He read their thoughts, know their fears, sense their insecurities? Did children like Him? Did Mary stay up late at night wondering if Her Son "fit in" with the Nazareth crowd?

     The mother in me would like answers to these mysteries, and more. But my pedantic side assures me that if God wanted us to know all these details, He would have included them in the Scriptures. Maybe when I get to heaven I'll ask Mary to join me for a cup of hot chocolate and whipped cream and ask her some of these questions myself. 

     Then again, maybe I'll just sit back in silent awe, try once again to grasp the enormity of Christ Incarnate, and do my best to meditate on the one Mary called "Immanuel —which means God With Us" (Matthew 1:23).

What about you? If you could ask God - or His mother - one question about Jesus as a youngster, what would it be? (Feel free to leave your comment below.)


  1. I have often thought of these and similar questions.

    What must it have been like to raise a child that was sinless?

    Surely others in town noticed too?

    God with us...it must have been an amazing thing to watch Him grow up!


    1. It is baffling, isn't it Trish? Just imagine how hard it would be for Mary and Joseph's other children to have a perfect brother! Thanks for the comment!

  2. I could take those ponderings a step further and wonder what kind of looks or comments Mary and Joseph might have received when people saw Christ's perfection played out.

    1. Agreed, Laura. And what Mary and Joseph's other children made of him?