Born to You

December 9, 2020
Tim Lien

The angel said to them, “Hey look here, now.
I have something really great to tell you.
It will make your heart jump with jolt-shocks of gladness.
And it’s for everyone, too. A baby has been born to you.
Today! A real Rescuer.
He’s the Anticipated Fixer-of-All-Things, the G.O.A.T. Leader, really.”
-- A modern paraphrase of Luke 2:10

Babies are objectively amazing.

I do not want another baby. I am tired. 

A friend told me that people always have one more baby than they can properly handle. Mea culpa, Nostradamus. Comedian Jim Gaffigan says having a fourth baby is like treading water out on the ocean— on the verge of exhaustion and imminent drowning—when someone comes vrooming by and hands you a baby. Someone please send another boat with life preservers and cocktails, please.

By my count, The Way community has had six babies since March. The next time we all get together in-person, your significant other will say, “Oh hey, they have a baby. When did that happen?” And you will drily say that it probably happened while they were binge-watching The Queen’s Gambit.

So cute, too. Thatches of the softest hair you’ve ever felt, discounting the downy ear lining of a pygmy monkey. (So, so, soft) Wide eyes, glistening with brilliant traces of totes adorbs. Dribbling. Drooling. Burbling that sounds like the color seven—sorta like if champagne was converted into audio waves. 

There is no morning breath with babies, either. Cupid saliva, basically. It’s sweetish without the odiferous addition of middle-schooler. There is no substitute for fresh human. I used to let my infant kids suck on the end of my nose. They soon got wise to my bulbous proboscis being so very not mom. But up-close, in that moment, you felt the power of latching need and hunger. Whoa.

There were times when their little faces shimmered with reflexive twitches—little bands of muscles asserting functionality. And in those slight facial tightenings appeared the proximity of a smile. Whoa.

Babies need announcing. And announcements. I will fight anybody who says differently. Show me. Tell me. It is not at all weird to want to share your lil’ one with the world. You gotta see this. We made this. She’s ours. An announcement is not bragging, it’s bottled joy that needs opening. Folks love sharing an open bottle of baby announcement.

These babies make me smile because they were born to another family. There’s a time-worn grandparent joke: “I love visiting my grandchildren, because I get to go home afterward.” I love holding babies; I love handing them back.

That angel baby announcement is weird, though. “A baby is born to you.” Uh, no. That’s someone else’s baby. Here you take him. He’s Mary’s. Maybe the angel should have said, A BABY HAS BEEN BORN!

Angel: No, I said the baby is born to you

Strange announcement. I don’t need a baby. Martin Luther wrote that Dr. Luke “does not say, Christ is born, but to you he is born.”

I certainly do not need another baby. I like looking at announcements these days. None of this baby to me business. To someone else, specifically with a different address. Not me.

But the baby is to me. To you. Everyone, really. The angel was very clear about that. For once, religion gets embarrassed. You can’t buy your way up. You can’t fake your way up. You can’t do-good your way to the top. You can’t wheedle, connive, or network your way up. You can’t earn your way up. The baby will be your brag.

This burbling God baby comes down. To you. Here, hold him. He’ll grow on you.

2020 The Way - SGV