After reading Isaiah 49 in the King James version I felt overwhelmed by the memories of my early childhood. My mother had her hands full with a baby and the running of a large household. I was usually passed off to the care of older brothers or sisters or my grandfather, who called me “duckling.” (That must be where I got the idea from that diminutives and endearments are the domain of men.)
All this came back to me when I read Isaiah 49:23 and Numbers 11:12. Christmas is about two things – remembering the deity and his care for the world, and giving those children who are in our care a bank of memories. This has little to do with being the person who actually gave birth to the child. It has to do with having the feeling of being the one who gave birth to the child.
- And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. Is. 49:23
Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Numbers 11:12
But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. 1 Thess. 2: 7-8
Paul and Moses were not shy of thinking in endearments, of being the nursing fathers to those under their leadership. If Christmas calls us to look to God as one who comes down to earth, it also reminds us, men and women, to give tender love to those in our care, whatever age they are.