God saw the mess the world was in and decided to do something about it. As He drew up the plan, he noticed that babies were the one exception to the mess the world had made of itself.
“Babies did not got to war,” Barbara Brown Taylor dreamily writes. “They never made hate speeches or littered or refused to play with each other because they belonged to different political parties… In fact, almost everyone seemed to love them. And that gave God an idea. Why not create himself as one of these delightful creatures?”
“He tried the idea out on his cabinet of archangels and at first they were all very quiet. Finally, the senior archangel stepped forward to speak for all of them. He told God how much they would worry about him, if he did that. He would be putting himself at the mercy of his creatures, the angel said. People could do anything they wanted to him, and if he seriously meant to become one of them, there would be no escape for him if things turned sour.
“Could he at least create himself as a magical baby with special powers? It would not take much—just the power to become invisible, maybe, or the power to hurl bolts of lightning if the need arose. The baby idea was a stroke of genius, the angel said, it really was, but it lacked adequate safety features.
“God thanked the archangels for their concern but said no, he thought he would be a regular baby. How else could he gain the trust of his creatures? How else could he persuade them that he knew their lives inside out, unless he lived one like theirs? There was a risk. He knew that. Okay, there was a high risk, but that was part of what he wanted his creatures to know: that he was willing to risk everything to get closer to them, in hopes they might love him again.
“It was a daring plan, but once the angels saw that God was dead set on it, they broke into applause—not the uproarious kind but the steady kind that goes on and on when you have witnessed something that you know you will never see again. While they were still clapping, God turned around and left the cabinet chamber, shedding his robes as he went. The angels watched as his midnight blue mantle fell to the floor, so that all the stars on it collapsed in a heap. Then a strange thing happened.
“Where the robes had fallen, the floor melted and opened up to reveal a scrubby brown pasture speckled with sheep and—right in the middle of them—a bunch of shepherds sitting around a campfire drinking wine out of a skin. It was hard to say who was more startled, the shepherds or the angels, but as the shepherds looked up at them, the angels pushed their senior member to the edge of the hole.