Tuesday, 23 July 2013
It's a boy!
I want to celebrate and share the joy as we hear the news of the birth of a baby boy. It is a great day for his parents and we hold them in our prayers as they experience all the mixed emotions of new parenthood. It is right to be glad for them, unreservedly glad for them.
As I sat on the train this morning I read some of the reports in the morning papers. Just hours after the birth, with no more details than the weight of the baby boy and the essential fact that he and his mother are well, the papers have produced special supplements and pages of reports. They talk about the ways in which this child might be brought up. They try to guess where the mother and child will go for the first few weeks after leaving the hospital. They talk about the baby’s future role as heir to the throne. They try to imagine what Britain will be like when he is expected to become king. They have pictures of royal babies from previous generations, in the absence of any pictures of this child.
The child’s future is being mapped out in public expectation, and he is only hours old.
I find myself reflecting on another birth. Yes, you guessed it – the birth of Jesus. What might his parents have been expecting for him? Perhaps they already knew that he was special for reasons beyond those that made him their special child but I doubt they imagined then what the future would hold. This child, born in relative obscurity was to change the world. This child was to reshape human understanding and show through his life and teaching the power of love. As Mary and Joseph cradled him in their arms, what could they have known of all this?
When a child is born, new relationships begin and new possibilities are opened up. For all of them the circumstances of their birth and childhood will affect how and if that potential is realized. Where children are born into poverty or oppression their potential is constrained and we must do all we can to give children everywhere the opportunity to grow up healthy and free from hunger and fear.
Today I remember and pray for the children of the world. Today I pray for all those mothers and fathers who have welcomed a new baby and for those for whom the miracle of birth is shadowed by pain, fear, anxiety or loss.
Today I pray that the Kate and William’s son will be free from the constraints of expectation and privilege, free to surprise his parents and all of us as he realizes his potential. And I pray that he will grow in a relationship with God, because it is in that relationship that he will find fulfillment, and in which his potential will be fully realized.