He was most looking forward to seeing the stars. It had been some time since he had walked the Earth, and they had always been his favorite sight, the vast multitude of light that overcame the expanse of darkness of fathomless miles. He knew them each by name.
He was especially excited to see his star, his special star, the one he had called to stand watch and summon the wise men from the East. None had seen such a star before, and none would ever see it again.
He stretched and trembled in his tiny, warm cocoon. An apt metaphor if ever there was, only he the butterfly was to become a caterpillar for a time. Tonight was the night. He kicked; his cocoon spasmed, and spasmed again. Around him, the steady drumbeat of his mother’s heart came faster. He wriggled and pushed himself toward the opening. He wanted to make this as easy for her as possible; she had no help, only her husband, after all. He pushed and wriggled and pushed, and the living walls around him contracted and slid him along. No, it would not be long now before he saw the stars.
On his head he felt an odd coldness, then an unfamiliar warmth. Hands were holding him; large, awkward, calloused hands, trying to guide him along. Another contraction and his arms were free. He moved one to push himself the rest of the way out, but it went up when it should have gone down and right when it should have gone left. Ah—a mystery he would have to solve in a moment. He could now hear soft gasps and a murmered baritone. Another contraction, and his legs were free. He was out.
He opened his mouth to proclaim, “I am here! I have come!”—but what was this? That was not his voice, not the voice that called the moon and stars into existence, that lit the Sun like a candle. No; this was a plaintive cry. He tried again—“I am the one you have been waiting for”—but again, a cry. The one they called the Word could not speak.
In the meantime he had been passed to smaller, softer hands, and was being rubbed with something coarse. Hay. It ticked his nose. He sneezed, and moved his arm again to brush it away from his face.
Well, his arm went up again this time, at least. That was something. But it swung wide. This bore investigating. With all his might he concentrated on moving his arm in front of his face. He stared at it—another feat that was harder than he ever expected. Everything was blurry. But he could make out little sausage fingers—could those really be his?—and a chubby little wrist.
He tried to rub his eyes to clear his vision, but that required more control than he had. He could barely get it to touch his forehead. And he remembered it would have done him no good anyway. Vision would come months later. And that meant no stars. Not even his own special one; it would likely be gone long before he would be physically able to see it. He the one who would one day make blind men see, and he couldn’t see the stars. He called out a lament to it, to his special star, but it came out as a wail.
“Ah…s-s-s-s-s-s.” The woman said something to him. Could he not even understand speech? The inventor of words fell silent at this. This was going to take some getting used to.
Now he was being wrapped in something warm and soft. His tiny sausage fingers were still in front of his face, and now there was some dark blob approaching his own hand. He guessed it was her husband’s finger. He tried to close his own tiny sausage fingers around it but barely curved them around. Could his hands really be that tiny, that they didn’t even measure to the size of a man’s finger? Could he really be that tiny? He, who held the angels to his beck and call?
But what was this? Was this one of his angels bending down to him? No, it was the woman. His mother, like his own personal angel. Now she was raising him to her face. Her cheeks were chubby and flushed, and he thought he caught a look of puzzled wonder in her own eyes. Could she really be that young? She could not be more than 15 or 16 years older than him! He longed to comfort her, to tell her he knew what he was doing, to say “I have called you by name! You are mine!” But all that came out was a gentle squeak, a baby’s small breath that carried the hope of the nations.
That was a lot of weight for such tiny sausage fingers. He was tired already. He couldn’t help it; he yawned. His mother, gently singing, finished wrapping him and carefully laid him down in something that smelled of animals and hay. This must be the manger; harder than he expected, but at least he was warm. He yawned again, and blinked a few times. Above him, he could barely make out two shapes hovering over him. His mother, there, and the also shockingly young face of the man he would call father. He smiled up at them, and he caught the flash of their teeth as they smiled back at him. Their hands touched each other’s—not little sausage fingers like his, but big hands, hands that could work, hands that could play, hands he would one day hold as he learned to walk and learned to do chores. One day, his would be that big. One day, they would heal that land. But for now, he could only wait and grow.
And sleep. He yawned again, and looked up at his parents with half-lidded eyes. Their fingers entwined over the sides of his crib, and he thought he saw stars in their eyes.