Have you ever experienced a rush of emotion when you see or hold a newborn child? Infants are so tiny, helpless, and innocent. Our hearts can’t help but swell with love and compassion for them. That passionate, visceral emotion is the meaning of the word that Luke uses in the Bible, when he writes of the “tender compassion” of our God, in describing the coming of Jesus.
It tells us how Jesus feels about each of us. In his tender compassion, he decided to come to earth for us. He knew what it would mean for himself: being born in a stable, being violently opposed by many of the religious leaders and dying an agonizing death on a cross. Yet he also knew that was the only way to protect and save us from the darkness and evil of our cultures.
Take a few moments to put yourself in this picture. Imagine yourself as the infant and Jesus, as the compassionate adult holding you. What are the emotions that arise in your heart? What are some of the thoughts that come to mind? Perhaps it would be good to journal them.
And if you find it a struggle to put yourself in that picture, journal your thoughts and feelings about that too. What images or memories come to mind, as you struggle with entering into that place of vulnerability? Perhaps it’s an area that God wants to bring some healing, so you are free to be vulnerable.
When you see images of the baby Jesus this Christmas, let it remind you of how much Jesus loves you. His is a visceral love that knows no bounds, one that was willing to go to any lengths to woo you into relationship with himself. This is the love that we celebrate each day but especially at Christmas.