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“People of Israel, you heard the prophet tell: ‘A virgin mother will bear Emmanuel’; she conceived him, ‘God with us’, our brother, whose birth restores hope and courage to children of this earth.”

There is a sense in which every birth offers us hope: every new life stirs us to imagine the possibility that ‘this time we’ll get it right’ (even though, as Lutherans, we know we are bound, eventually, to muck it up!).

Even for those for whom pregnancy is a problem – those who did not want or plan to have a child, those who are not capable of raising this baby, those for whom all of these issues and decisions are filled with pain – there is also an opportunity: someone is waiting and longing to hold and love this child.

And parents find courage where they thought they had none: they will tackle, for the sake of their children, things that they would never dream of doing for themselves.

And as powerful as the love is of a parent for a child, so powerful is God’s love for us.

God of love, come to us again. Come as the child, whose vulnerability moves us; come as the parent whose love restores us; come as the brother or sister, who lifts us up and encourages us when we are down. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.