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Captivated by an Infant's Gaze

Christ child in the manger

By Fr. Cyril Lovett

baby in the manger

In the old days there was a myth 
that new-born babies could not see 
for some time after birth. 
Now we know better: 
within hours of being born 
a tiny child is focusing its eyes 
above all on its mother. 
This helpless, vulnerable baby 
is fixing its unblinking gaze to draw in, 
charm and captivate its only source 
of food and protection.

For millennia, God the Father, 
who made us in his own image, 
had to live with mankind’s perverse response: 
we made Him in our image! 
If the great, the powerful, the rulers 
of this world so often turned out to be 
remote, capricious, merciless and vindictive 
then God was viewed through the same lens.

John wrote, “No one has ever seen God 
God’s only Son, he who is nearest to the Father’s heart, 
has made him known.” The birth at Bethlehem then, 
was God’s final effort to reveal his true face to us: 
to make clear that our God 
desperately seeks to captivate each one of us 
by appearing in the form of the only creature 
that invariably disarms us, and draws from us 
such a loving response.

Why did he do this? 
To make clear that he needs our love? 
That we are infinitely precious to Him? 
That there is no measure he will not take 
to captivate us and assure us of his love?

So let your face be the unwavering focus 
of your baby’s gaze. Fall under its spell, 
and remember again just how much you are loved 
by the Christ-child of Bethlehem.