Big God Was a Baby

Norman Walker

When my granddaughter, Tara, was four years old, we took her to her cousin Shannon’s baptism.  As we all busily dressed for the trip to church, I could see that she was thinking hard about something.  I did not realize that she was recalling the trip we had taken to church a few weeks earlier during Christmas; she was remembering how we had stopped outside the church for a while to look at the crèche with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds , the animals and baby Jesus.

Tara looked up at me and said quite authoritatively, “Dad, Big God was a baby!”

When we got back from baptism I wrote this poem for Tara.

Presently Tara at age 27 has a six month old child, Vivien; Tara reminds me that she first felt Vivien move last Christmas at midnight mass.


Big God Was a Baby

Big God was a baby before we were born –
When lily lush fields in a white morn
Waved in the wash of light flecked with gold,
Earth embraced heaven; the story is old.

Though darkly the universe knocks at our door
And the furnace is rumbling deep under floor,
Though we tremble at thunder, at sounds in the dark,
Think God is a Lion, a Great Mako Shark,

Big God is a baby, there’s nothing to fear:
This rite will now wash us and dry every tear;
This new child of water will open our eyes;
We’ll plumb the dark mystery, our spirits will rise.

Though life will unhinge like petals in pain
And lakes will all thicken because of hard rain,
Though forests will fall in a cold starless night
And God seems to leave and turn out the light,

Big God is a baby, the message above:
No matter the loss, the land’s full of love.
The babies remind us on this golden day
When we wash in this water, death melts away.

By Tara with help from Dad (Norm Walker)

December, 2008