"Did Baby Jesus Have Wrist Rolls?" & Other New Mom Wonderings

“I wonder if Jesus had wrist rolls as a baby”

The thought came to me as I rocked our boy back to sleep after an early morning feeding. I was holding his little hand and relishing in how plump he’d become since we brought him home. With his filled out face and chunky thighs he barely resembled the 6lb 5oz baby we’d started out with.

I’ve been obsessed with birth stories ever since we started trying for a baby and as we entered the Christmas season with a newborn, I spent a great deal of time reflecting on Christ’s birth. Scripture doesn’t give us many details about Mary’s experience in that stable or of Jesus’ childhood, so my mind stayed busy wondering how our stories were similar and, even more so, how they were different. I pondered over thoughts like these:

Did Mary and Joseph really do birth alone or did a midwife of Bethlehem help them?
How did Joseph cut the cord?!
Was breastfeeding a challenge or did baby Jesus latch right away?
Was Mary able to clean up after birth and if so, how? Where?
How old was Jesus when he first smiled at His parents?
Did they use a wrap to keep Him close?
Did Joseph carve toys for Him?
Did His baby belly get pinched and patted by adoring women?
When did he first roll over?

The Bible tells us that Mary pondered all these things in her heart. Well Mary, I would’ve liked to have known some of this stuff!! I guess having grown up in a world where everyone shares everything on social media, I’ve come to believe I’m owed details like these! I suppose that one day I will have an eternity to talk to Mary and exchange the graphic yet glorious details of birth.

I come back to these thoughts, these questions often for what I think is a very good reason. They humanize Christ to me and I so need Him to be human. Sometimes, because I have never seen Him in the flesh, my idea of Him can be so extra terrestrial, quite vague, and, if I’m being honest, un-relatable. However, when I day dream about His birth and His boyhood, I am reminded that He was “God with skin on”. The magnitude of the miracle that was God becoming man carries so much more weight when I take the time to dwell on exactly what that means. Jesus was fully human, yet fully God. I imagined that looked something like this:

God stubbed His toe without uttering a curse word under His breath.
He got blamed for something a sibling did and didn’t punch them to get them back.
He broke some family heirloom and confessed to His parents immediately.
He sat with the weird kid at the synagogue.
God let his brothers and sisters get the best piece of fish after a long day apprenticing with Joseph.
Jesus may have changed the diapers of His younger siblings.

Again, these are all musing of my own, not backed up with Scripture at all. It’s just that during Christmas, when we sing about and celebrate the coming of our Lord, I couldn’t help but look at my baby and wonder what THE BABY was like.

With the season of Lent upon us now, my wondering mind has skipped ahead to Easter and I am beginning to have somewhat darker musings. I look at my boy and wonder how Mary watched her first born die a criminals death? Seriously, how? How did she live through that ordeal? I can’t stand the thought of any harm befalling my son yet she watched hers be crucified for the sins of others. You know, because after all she was a mother, that as Jesus drew His last breath she only saw her baby up there suffering. Tears fill my eyes and I get an awful heaviness in my gut when I think about that. Like the scene in Father of the Bride when Annie tells George that she’s getting married and all he sees is her 6 year old self delivering him the news, Mary must’ve been reliving scenes from Jesus' childhood in her head as His innocent life was poured out.

I’m just sharing some thoughts that I have been having now that I hadn’t before our boy came along. Maybe they are thoughts you’ve never had either. While they do seem random and sometimes heavy, they have been important to me. I think it’s important to remember and then write deeply on your heart that Christ was a baby, He was a boy, then He was the man. It’s important to see Him as a fellow human being with struggles like ours. That’s why we can trust Him with our very lives. He was one of us! And He lives in a resurrected human body right now! The same one He used to learn carpentry with Joseph, the body that cooked breakfast lakeside for His friends,  the same one that bears what should’ve been our scars. He is not some lofty, unreachable god. He is God made flesh so that He could be among us and save us. We know what it’s like to be human. It’s dirty and it’s hard and it’s often heartbreaking. We know what it’s like to live in bodies that become broken, sickly, and let us down time after time. Christ traded a throne in heaven, a perfect existence, to take on the flawed flesh of the humans He created. If that isn’t proof that he loves us, what is?!

One of us. He was one of us! Tangible and real. And He still is.

We pray to a living God who walked the earth once and who will come back to claim what is His one day. Pray with gusto and with authority, because that body did not stay dead but conquered death and saved us all. It isn't just a story we read in a history book. He was and is a real man, a real God. He isn’t some spiritual or celestial being that can’t be reached by us. One day, like a different Mary, we will fall to his feet in worship because He is God and deserves it. And I’d imagine on that day, He will pull us up from the ground and pull us into a hug because He was human too and that’s what we humans do when we are reunited with the people we love, we hug them tight.