3. God the Baby

For each of the 12 days of Christmas, I’ll review and fill out one of the12 Ways of Christmas” …

1. “God was a baby.”
2. “God nursed.”
3. “God was an embryo.”
4. “God was a zygote.”
5. “Mary is the Mother of God.”

These are shocking statements that are nonetheless true, because Christ is one person with two natures. The two natures were human and divine. The One person he is, is the second person of the Trinity, a divine person.

These things seem startling to us. But that’s the point of Christmas.

God is infinitely greater than us. The divine is incomparable to the human. When Muslim scholars are scandalized by the Incarnation, it’s not because they’re wrong, but because they’re right: God is unapproachable. He is, says St. Paul, an “all consuming fire.” The idea of the Incarnation would be absurd if God himself, who can do whatever he wants, didn’t do it and tell us about it himself.

Ultimately, Christmas reminds us that these sentences are just as shocking as those above:

1. “God was a man.”
2. “God ate fish.”
3. “God was a carpenter.”
4. “God was the friend of sinners.”
5. “Our actions are part of God’s plan for salvation.”

Once you’ve said all that, it’s an inch, not even a hop, to “God was a baby.” St. John, whose feast is today, is its greatest poet of Christmas: “In the beginning was the Word ... and the Word became flesh.”

Thus, our third way of Christmas: “God identifies himself with infants. Each year, we retell the stories about the great fuss made by God and man over babies, born and unborn, at Christmas: Mary is herself conceived without sin, an angel makes a pregnancy announcement to Mary, Elizabeth’s unborn baby recognizes Mary’s, and so does a star in the sky; Herod and the Magi go to great lengths to oppose and pay homage to the baby. When Catholics try to say that respect for unborn life isn’t part of our religion, they’re wildly wrong. Not only is it part of our religion, it’s the central focus of several of our biggest feasts each year.”

— Tom Hoopes