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Fostering a maternal instinct

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Fostering a maternal instinct

Look at baby Jesus in the manger here.  What has he done with his swaddling clothes in which Luke tells us his mother Mary wrapped him?   The sculptor responsible for this artistic licence is by no means alone: the Christ child is more often than not liberated from his swathing bands and reaching out, wanting to be picked up.

As a new mother, it is almost impossible to resist baby’s desire to be picked up.  Although the cord is cut, the tie remains phenomenally strong and those kicking legs, the waving arms, the crying or gurgling and the smiles (when they come) pull the mother with something akin to a strong magnetic attraction towards her newborn.  Even if one is given the opportunity to catch up on much needed sleep in another room while a kind husband or mother looks after baby, sleep or even rest is impossible if that room is within earshot of the crying newborn.

This would have been Mary’s experience, just as it has been mine and every mother’s.  Whilst not entertaining any illusions of grandeur, the child in the manger to some extent treats each of us as ‘mother’, desiring more than we can ever know that we give him the attention he deserves.  He wants us to take him to our hearts, to be adored and treasured.   And just as a newborn settles happily in the arms of his mother, so too is Jesus delighted when we come to him.

Let us take Christ child to ourselves today and every day and live our lives with him in our arms, so that we may be made worthy of his presence.

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