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Advent Devotional December 4: The Birth of a Baby

He [Joseph] took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. Luke 2:5-7

By Alice Ketchund

A few weeks ago I was in California getti ng acquainted with my newest grandson, Zachary. I experienced the joy and wonder of fresh, new life and soaked in his babyness as he squirmed, slept, watched, and cried. This experience also provided a vivid reminder that life at its beginning is so fragile, so vulnerable. This human newborn was and is, for months to come, totally dependent on others to meet his basic needs for food, warmth, care, and consolation. What a blessing it was to see his loving mother patiently meet those needs and the strength of his father supporting and protecting both.

This picture and set of feelings are with me this year as I begin to reflect on Christmas and the birth of the human baby Jesus. The Christmas story as well as the drama and carols we love, present a story of the wondrous events surrounding Jesus' birth. These events focus us on Jesus as a special baby, a child of promise and special purpose. We are awed and grateful.

But Jesus' birth at its core is a very human event, a helpless, totally dependent infant with his very human mother and father. His survival depends on their care and nurture. It is the experience of us all.

Yet, this very human birth also begins the miracle of the Incarnation. Jesus, who came from God and becomes the post-resurrection Christ, participated fully in the human experience - our experience - beginning with the total vulnerability of his birth.

Thank you, Jesus, for your presence in our lives, not only as our Lord but also as fellow-traveler and guide for the journey of life. Bless us as we seek to follow your example of how to live and love. Amen.

Alice Ketchand has been a member of South Main Baptist Church since 1977 and is currently active in the Prayer Ministry and the Pilgrimage class. She and her husband, Robert, are proud grandparents of Naomi and Robby Ehlers and Ella, Luke, and Zach Ketchand.


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