The new-born babe is a fresh act of God. He is the latest revelation of God's creative handiwork. He is God's last messenger to earth. The babe's presence, so fresh and pure, says all anew "God is faithful." Generations of sin and disobedience and ignoring of God by us men have not changed Him. His touch is upon this last babe as much as upon the first that lay in Eve's arms. Here is the latest impress of the wondrous image of God.
The babe face is a new window of heaven. Through it the upper-world folks look down upon us. And through it we look up to them, gathered about the Father in the upper home. In those babe eyes the Father Himself is looking into our eyes, and we may look up into His. Each babe is a fresh touch of Eden's purity and beauty.
He tells us of the early Eden life long ago, and of the new Eden life,—far ahead?—maybe less far than we think. He tells, too, of a present Eden life if God may have his way, a blessed remnant of old Eden, and an earnest of the yet more blessed new Eden ahead. The babe is God's prophecy of His coming plan for man. And the reality is always more than the prophecy.
The babe is a marvel of organization. The fine adaptation and adjustment are exquisite. What wonderful precision of action! Have you ever put your ear down over the baby's heart, and listened quietly and intently to that marvellous bit of human engineering? There is a touch of awe in its rhythmic thumping throb, as it tirelessly pumps the fresh life-current through all the body. No thoughtful man can study his own baby, and in his heart doubt the existence of God.
And what a marvel of helplessness! His dependence upon others is so complete as to be pathetic. He is a bundle of wants, and yet he is utterly unable to tell one of them, though plainly enough he feels many of them before we are aware of them. His only language is a cry, an inarticulate cry.
Yet the thoughtful mother-ear quickly learns the language of that cry. All babe cries are alike to an unlearned outsider. But the love-taught mother knows the difference between a distress signal and a request. One cry says plainly, "I'm in discomfort, or pain." Another says just as plainly, "Please give me this or this." And the mother-linguist supplies the lack of definiteness by her thought.
No babe of all the animal creation is so helpless. Because the finest takes the longest to grow. The highest must have the deepest foundation. Slow development, with normal conditions, means greater fineness and strength.
And the babe is yet more a marvel of possibility. The man who will sway thousands to his will as the whirlwind sweeps the forest, lies sleeping in that babe. The organizer of the world's industries, or the leader of the world's thought, or the changer of the world's life, and of the map of the earth, is in that wee morsel of humanity lying in his mother's arms.
That cooing voice may compel the whole world to listen. Those fat dainty fingers may pen words that a world will be eager to read, and ready to be moulded by. A Wesley or a Faraday may be there, only waiting the coming of his day of action. And, far more than these, the man who will re-live Jesus' life, with all its simplicity and purity and fragrance, in some humble corner, that shall touch and tinge deep the life of the crowd, may lie there all open to the impress of father and mother.
The babe is like a clean slate. You may write upon it what you will. He is like a dry sponge ready to absorb all the moral moisture in the air round about. We must always be grateful to the babe that inspired a father's heart to write:—
"Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.
"Where did you get those eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.
"What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.
"Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.
"What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.
"What makes your cheek like a warm, white rose?
I saw something better than anyone knows.
"Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.
"Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.
"Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into bonds and bands.
"Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherub's wings.
"How did they all come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew."
"How did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you, and so I am here." (George MacDonald.)