BECOMING a parent for the first time is an incredible moment that’s filled with different emotions that manifest in different ways.
Some people laugh, or cry, some dance, and still others are so overcome with emotion that they pass out.
Regardless of the emotions, it doesn’t take long for first time parents to come to the realisation that they have no idea what they are doing.
I remember when our first child was born. Even though I was ecstatic, I soon realised I had no idea what I was doing.
A deep sense of responsibility set in when I brought my wife and daughter home from the hospital.
Upon arriving home, I removed our daughter from the car and while carrying her went and checked the mail.
As I was not accustomed to holding babies, I didn’t know how tight was too tight.
I wanted to release my grip, but I thought if I do that she will squirm and I might drop her.
This all took place in the space of about 30 seconds, but it was 30 seconds that revealed to me, I was clueless as to how to go about being a dad.
My daughter was officially a guinea pig.
It’s a glorious moment becoming a parent, but it can also be slightly terrifying as the realization sinks in that this child is completely dependent upon you.
Just a little over a month ago we celebrated Christmas. The Christian narrative of Christmas reveals a similar story where Mary and Joseph became parents for the first time, with the birth of Jesus.
This story wouldn’t be too dissimilar to what we experience in the birth of our own children.
Mary and Joseph would have been holding Jesus in their arms, kissing him, cradling him, relaying their love to him, in the same way we do today.
Perhaps the only difference is (in the Christian tradition at least), they weren’t just holding any baby; Mary and Joseph were holding God in their hands.
They were holding God who is everywhere, who is the beginning and the end.
They were holding God who spoke the world into existence, who created them, who existed before them; they were holding in their arms the all-powerful God, who was now a tiny infant that couldn’t regulate his own body temperature, feed himself, change himself, or look after himself in any way.
They were holding in their arms the all-powerful God who now was completely un-powerful and utterly dependent upon his parents.
This all powerful God intrusted to Mary and Joseph's hands, the responsibility of raising Jesus from infant to man.
I am amazed with that thought, that God so values and believes in us, that he places in our hands delicate responsibilities for us to steward and grow.
Perhaps the question we could be all asking ourselves is, what has God placed in our hands, what has He given us to steward, what are we growing, and is it growing into love?