Our sons are grown now, employed (Thank you, Lord), married, out on their own, but I still remember. Standing in the night, Kathy and I listened, and from the stillness of a crib came the music of the universe, rising, falling, the simplest and loveliest of sounds—the breaths of a baby.
That sound is life and song and mystery and power. But that life, that baby breathing, was and is a part of me, a miracle, a gift, my own child, my own life, though his own. Here in the stillness of my office now, I swear I hear it still, the rising and falling, the simplest and loveliest of sounds, life bound to my life, forever a gift, forever the music of the universe and my own soul.
In the peace that finally came when the birthing was done, when Mary, at last at rest, held her baby and Joseph held her, they must have listened, don’t you think? They must have fallen silent in that strange delivery room of theirs and heard through the breathing of their animal neighbors the one breath that was theirs together, the breath that was gift to them.
Rising and falling, the music of the universe, the simplest and loveliest of sounds—do you hear?
Be still for a moment and listen—the breaths of that baby born of Mary and held by Joseph—that baby as fragile and beautiful as every baby—his breaths are a song for your soul. That miracle and gift for Mary was a miracle and gift for us. He was and is God with us. His breaths that stirred the air that became the winds of millennia sing love for every baby and for all who listen in the night.
When he grew, Jesus spoke God’s truth, embodied God’s grace, and revealed God’s power in the healing of bodies and souls. He lived fully for those who had no power; he turned the world upside down. He forgave and embraced and welcomed home all who would come to him. He was killed for his kindness and raised from the dead. And he lives and calls us still.
But right now it is enough to know he was born one of us, his breaths one with the chorus of babies born today. He was and is God with us. Listen, and you will hear it still, the rising and falling, the simplest and loveliest of sounds, his life bound to our lives, forever a gift, forever the music of the universe and our souls.