Daily Thought For December 23, 2019

What Will This Child Be?


Luke 1:57–66


“What, then, will this child be?”

As each of my nieces and nephews was born (and especially when I had a chance to see them soon after birth), a feeling of awe and wonder struck me. What a little bundle of potential a newborn baby is! Each child is a mystery. What will he become? What will she be like?

We can spot some clues—long feet and toes indicating future height, for example. We can surmise some likely possibilities—the prospect of inheriting gifts and inclinations from artistic, athletic, or musically gifted parents, for instance. But no one except God can know for sure anything about the future deeds, accomplishments, influence, or lifespan of the child. And only a foolish person would claim to know the future.

A child like John, the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, is the focus of wonder because each child is a gift from God to the world—a sign that God has not finished with us yet.

The extraordinary circumstances around John’s birth make people take notice. Obviously, God is involved because this baby would not even have been conceived in the normal way of things. But God is involved in each child’s life, and indeed each person’s, no matter at what stage of life, no matter what a person may have done or not done previously. Every human being has marvelous potential and is a mystery known only to God.

Sometimes we sell each other and ourselves short. We might look at a person or at ourselves and feel that our future paths are already laid out. That is not true. God always provides the grace needed to change. We can always change direction or focus, or deepen our commitment, or repent of our selfishness, and allow God to transform us. The Baby born in Bethlehem reminds us of this.


God, my Father, thank you for the gift that every single child is to the world. Thank you for the renewal of wonder, awe, and hope that every baby brings. Is that why your Son came as a baby—to awaken in people a new hope in your grace at work in the world?
I am a mystery of your grace. Thank you for the gift of being able to begin again. Help me never to despair of the possibility of change, either in myself or those around me.


What will you do in me today, Lord?

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2009). Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 76–77). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

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