I look forward to taking the Sacrament with all of you on Christmas Day this year. In honor that, I’ve updated this post on Christmas and the things that make us innocent.
Every birth is a nativity for the family involved. Every newborn babe is shocking proof that innocence and holiness can exist in fleshly vessels. Every parent can tell you that every little infant is a surety that better things can be then are found in the ponderous and deadly accretions of the World. Births are a miracle.
In this respect, every birth follows the pattern of Christâ€™s birth. His birth does to all of us what births do to parents. He unmans all creation.
In a sense, I think, we are spiritually reborn when we participate in a birth. For all of us, at Christmas, when we participate in Christ’s birth. For we individual parents, at the birth of our children.
That was the conclusion I came to while thinking over Christmas and rebirth this Sunday during the sacrament. I remembered that the prophets explicitly describe baptism as being born again and the sacrament as the weekly â€œrenewing of our baptismal covenants,â€? which is the matter-of-fact Mormon way of saying that every week in the sacrament we are born yet again as new sons and daughters of Christ. I pondered this and realized that I had experienced that rebirth. At least, I had experienced something when I took the sacrament that I had experienced on witnessing my daughtersâ€™ births or on standing as a Christmas witness to the timeless birth of Jesus. I had felt the value, hope, freshness, and vitality that thatâ€™s slowly drained out of everything come flooding back in. Nothing looked the same; Iâ€™d only seen it with before with dead eyes.
This rebirth experience, I realized, has happened to me many times. I was baptized once. Iâ€™ve often taken the sacrament efficaciously. Iâ€™ve seen daughters born twice. And every Christmas, in my heart Iâ€™ve gone to the stable to glory in the Infant. All those were rebirths for me and remembering them was a sweet accompaniment to the sacrament.
Then, as I was sitting there with the bread and water, I suddenly saw myself in contrast to Him. I have been reborn and will be reborn many times. He was born but once.
Certainly we celebrate his birth every year. But we donâ€™t do it, I think, as if he were being reborn. We do it as if his birth was somehow timeless and therefore ever present. It is as if he were the Lamb slain and born from the beginning of the world. But now can a birth, how can anything, be timeless? The answer came. His birth continuesâ€“the joyful promise of it is as good today as it was thenâ€“because he has never blighted it and thus has never ceased to be what he was. The omnipotent Jesus is in some sense still the Child.
Every baby grows a little crooked as it grows. Every sacrament goer leaves the meeting touched, if still only lightly, with stupor. Every Christmas brings its quarrel. Every new leaf stiffens in the summer and sickens in the fall. He aloneâ€“the Christ â€“was born and lives an evergreen.