Christmas marks the birth of a son. A journey that starts with a family as diverse and interesting as any family around the world, writes Ruta Mave.
Parents from differing
backgrounds and experiences who meet in unlikely situations come together and
through love or circumstance, create a baby for better or for worse in sickness
and in health. And once the baby is born, the threads that tie these three, are
inexplicably bound throughout their lives whether they remain as a unit or not.
Those who witness the birth or
come soon after are also as diverse as those who created life. They come with parables,
gifts and predictions of what sort of life this child will have richer or
poorer, to honour or obey. The child may have the eyes of the father. The
father may not see the child for what they are, what they may become. They may
not accept the child they see growing up into their own self being – they may
keep their eye on them, hoping or pushing them to be what they want them to be:
a “mini-me”. Some fathers will realise they can never control them, others will
spend theirs and their son’s lives fighting about it, shredding the very threads
Sometimes the son is born
absent of their father before he takes his first breath, either by choice or
chance. A feeding father may step in, they may formally adopt, they may give
the child a better life emotionally, spiritually, financially. It is as if God
has sent an angel. As a child the son can be happy but once they know of the
existence of the biological father, the thread tugs at them, a curiosity or
anger a wondering of what they did – were they not good enough to hold the
father to them, if he left by choice?
A son is always wanting to
prove to a father he is a man, that he is his own man, or wants his father to
accept him for the man or self he has chosen to be.
I often wonder about God
sending his son to earth as a child to be fathered and nurtured by another, to
be absent but watching from above. He must have had designs and goals for Jesus,
but as the Creator, did he foresee the challenges and obstacles that would
shape his son’s life? Did he release him to the den of lions and hope for the
best? Is he the type of father who allows the son to live a life that is not
pampered and protected from the challenges, but guided through the tough times
while allowing the son to make his own decisions and shape his own journey – while
hoping he will make good decisions?
Isn’t this the best we can do
and hope for as parents? To nurture and guide our children to be able to live
in a world of challenges and cross our fingers they can navigate safely through
it so they come out of it not only alive physically, but having lived and alive
At Christmas we celebrate the
birth of Christ. In four months, we will celebrate his death, because God gave
his only begotten son to save those on earth who for the most part made his
life hell, despite his good intentions and healing work.
Did God know that regardless
of what path he took in life, it would lead to his persecution on the cross? Did
God create the circumstances? Was he able to stop it? If he can make it rain for
40 days and nights couldn’t he have Judas miss the bus to the last supper?
A child may be born with the
heart of the mother and regardless of what he does he will always have her
heart. She is bound to him through the time they shared creating life within
her. As a child lays in a mother’s arms, the criss-cross of different threads
start to weave the tapestry of their lives immediately.
As Mary nursed her newborn in
the stable, what life did she feel she was able to offer the child?
Christmas is a time for family
to celebrate with each other. It was not until I had booked my flights to New
Zealand to see my ill father that I realised how long it had been since I had been
home for Christmas. I had visited other times of the year, but not on that one
day held in homage to family time.
Christmas morning marked the
birth of a son, and my father’s death. His last gift to me was to bring me home
to my family for Christmas. The day we come together as one to celebrate life
and the life of those who have lived.