Wondering About Baby Jesus
I first seriously thought about devotion to baby Jesus when I traveled to Prague with a group of friends during the semester I studied at my school’s campus in Austria. The Infant of Prague can be found on a side altar in a church somewhere in the city. I was not even planning on going to Prague that weekend, but decided to join a group of friends last minute when my other plans fell through. When I found myself praying before the Infant dressed up in a shiny green vestment-like dress I was not really sure what to say or pray or why this devotion had been popular for hundreds of years.
Two years later I was living in a house in Steubenville, Ohio near my college campus with four young women who shared a devotion to baby Jesus and were in the same household (the Steubenville alternative to a sorority created to pray together in community based on a common spirituality). Their simple enthusiasm for the child Jesus taught me how I should have prayed that day in Prague. It was similar to the universal adoration shown to a newborn baby, except that it was combined with their love of God. In fact, it seemed to enhance their love of God in a way that I had never thought about.
How did the Shepherds feel before the Infant they knew to be their Savior and God? The Wise Men knew there was something special about the Infant King they came to adore. And Our Lady, Mary, must have felt such an overwhelming love for her own Son who was also her Lord and her God.
God chose to become man as a little baby, and it is awesome that we can still pray to Him as that child. The Church gives us the opportunity every Christmas, but we are not restricted to the season in our devotion to Him. What does a devotion to baby Jesus do for us as worshipers of God? Praying to the child Jesus helps us follow His call to simplicity to be like a little child. When we come and adore the divine child we open ourselves to have Wonder and to be transformed by it. Wonder is what a child has when she sees the moon in the sky during the day instead of at night, and children wonder at the snow covering the ground. Children marvel at all aspects of God’s creation from the smallest bug to the largest mountain. When we start to wonder again, especially towards God himself, we learn to wonder at all of His creation. And our wondering at God is a way of worshiping Him and it causes us to grow in our love of Him.
This Sunday is Epiphany when the three wise men came to adore the child Jesus in Bethlehem. If we join them with our hearts in traveling to wonder at the Infant King, we can grow in love of God this Christmas Season. O come, let us adore Him!