Tonight I took my precious niece to the airport. I waited and watched as she did the security rigamarole. She was standing there all alone, stylish and slim and so beautiful and still. There were clumps of people milling around her: a glamourous woman with a tiny dog, a chatty security screener, a tall man who blushed when he had to remove his belt.
My darling girl stood there with her peculiarly perfect posture and graceful bones, a duffel bag swinging from one shoulder, completely alone. Her self-possession and independence startled me. She responded sweetly to the chatty screener, and helped the glamourous woman with one of her purses, and I felt a little bit like the mama duck saying quack quack quack, watching her swim off so perfectly, so effortlessly, through the airport.
She's intelligent and kind and private and vulnerable and well-read. She is bright and open and talented and funny. She has always had the most curious, gentle mind.
It was really scary to send her out into the wide world alone, back across this wide country to her mama. Not because she can't handle herself (she so can), but because I want everyone to know how special she is and to treat her with exceptional care.
The man behind her in line wasn't watching where he was going and almost ran into her. I felt myself shooting mental darts at him, hissing "don't you dare hurt my niece!"
I can't even fathom what it must have been like to look down through the stable roof that starry night. To look down and see Heaven's best as an utterly helpless newborn babe. To see Him snuggled close in young arms and realize He could be dropped, handled roughly, even ignored or neglected.
I wonder if the angels' hearts yearned and shuddered, witnessing the weight of glory hidden, borne beautifully and lightly in His mother's arms. What was it like for them to see Him in a squirming package of skin and bone, unbelievably fragile and tiny?
Did they try to shoo away bleating lambs? Were they aghast at the sight of Him lying in a manger? Did their hearts long to wing Him home, back to His glory and radiant might?
Ah, but ...
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.