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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Today's Hymn

Jesus is our childhood’s pattern;
day by day like us he grew;
he was little, weak and helpless;
tears and smiles like us he knew;
and he feels for all our sadness,
and he shares in all our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see him,
through his own redeeming love;
for that child so dear and gentle
is our Lord in heaven above;
and he leads his children on
to the place where he is gone.

Cecil Frances Alexander’s “Once in Royal David’s City”
(tune: Irby) from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Contemplating this humble image of our Savior sharing the earthly experience from the lowly stable is certainly one of the most comforting aspects of our Christmas story. The baby Jesus is so relatable and accessible!

My grandson is not yet three years old, so the words “weak and helpless; tears and smiles” sound like his personal agenda for most days! He happily explores, tests, learns, and grows, but inevitably tests the limits. That busyness ensures that even a toddler can grasp the range of experiences from joy to sadness.

What gives me pause about this passage is whether I nurture my faith in the same way the hymn seems to implore me. Do I cradle the boundless love of the Christ child as faith grows within me from weak and helpless, through sadness and gladness?

It is humbling to consider how giving love to our own infants and infantile faith ultimately leads us to finally see him through his redeeming love.

Bless our children, dear and gentle, for each of them gives us a glimpse of our Lord in heaven.

Our Lord in heaven above, help us to see your redeeming love in the birth of your Son into our human experience. Thank you for giving us his example as he shared all aspects of our existence and opens our eyes to his grace. As the hymn implores, may we grow day by day and may your redeeming love lead your children on. Amen.

Written by Ed Coke, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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