The Infant Jesus (Luke 2)

Gospel of Luke, Jesus of Nazareth

The Infant Jesus (Luke 2)

If you want to know Jesus, you need to know Him as an infant.

Read Chapter 2 of the Gospel according to Saint Luke here.

The incarnation of Jesus is an awesome mystery. The angel Gabriel tells Mary that Jesus is the Son of the Most High God. Saint John begins his gospel with the proclamation, “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be” (John 1:1-3). It’s amazing to think that the all-powerful Creator of the universe, who created all of us purely out of love, would become a person like us. He became a baby in His mother’s womb, dependent upon Mary for His every need. He chose to be born in the most humble of places, a stable for animals, in a little town of a conquered people. He allowed Mary and Joseph to hold Him in their arms. He held their hands. He smiled at them. He looked on them with love.

He next revealed Himself to shepherds. Shepherds occupied a lowly position at the time of Jesus. They were poor. They were uneducated. They traveled from job to job. They were often filthy from their work. They were not considered to be trustworthy, and their testimony was inadmissible in a court of law. It is to these, and not the rich and powerful, or the wise and learned, that the heavenly host appeared on that first Christmas night, to tell them the “good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12). The shepherds went with haste to Bethlehem, where they too were able to look upon and hold in their arms the infant Jesus.

What does this tell us about Jesus? As the Son of God, we could not on our own ascend to Him in Heaven, but He could come down to earth to be with us and lift us up to Him. As a man He will suffer all the privations we have to go through, as we will see throughout Luke’s gospel. We know very little of the first thirty years of His life, but we know His foster father Joseph was a carpenter, and would have trained Jesus in his profession. We know His family was poor. Joseph (and Jesus, as He grew older) had to work for their food. Jesus lived in quiet obscurity. Luke tells us that, Son of God though He was, He was obedient to Mary and Joseph. (What does this tell us about the value Jesus places on obedience?)

He came here to save us from our sins, and from the suffering and death they consign us to. He came to reconcile us to God the Father. We can do that by having a personal relationship with Him. We can have a personal relationship with Him because He became person like us. He knows what we’re going through. He knows what it is to suffer. We can talk with Him and share our concerns with Him. We can ask Him to help us. We can hold Him in our hands even as Mary and Joseph and the shepherds did some two thousand years ago in Bethlehem. We can hold Him – indeed, He very much wants us to hold Him – close to our hearts.

“He is confined in the narrow space of a rude manger, whose seat is in the heavens, that He may give us ample room in the joys of His heavenly kingdom. He Who is the bread of angels is laid down in a manger, that He might feast us, as it were the sacred animals, with the bread of His flesh.” – Saint Bede the Venerable

Image: Adoration of the Christ Child by Correggio (downloaded from Wikipedia Commons).

Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day for the salvation of souls.

Michael Haverkamp

Michael Haverkamp is a lifelong member of the Roman Catholic Church. He is grateful to his parents for raising him in the faith. He resides in Columbus, Ohio with his amazing wife and three sons. By day he is a (usually) mild-mannered grant writer.

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