Whenever we visit, there are new things to show us. Of course, the seven-month-old won't be consciously "showing" us anything, but we will be watching how he has grown and developed since we saw him last.
We enjoy the little ones, but know they won't stay little for long. Their fathers were little once, and they soon progressed from "come and show me" to "show and tell" - "look at what I can do," "look at what I have made" and "look at me!" (Both are taller than I am!)
We fitted in with all this as parents. We were loath to throw out any of the bold paintings from pre-school and searched out suitable "show and tell" items for the early years of schooling.
I doubt if any of us understood how much of this was preparation for the adult world. It helped in the development of necessary self-esteem and confident self-expression. But there was a down-side. Many parents have commented that they seem forever distracted into doing things for their children. Gone are the days when the child has a little broom or wash tub to work alongside mummy. Instead of children doing "copy play," parents now have to "make play."
And then with families in the teen years, we see those car stickers, "Mum's Taxi" and "If a woman's place is in the home, how come I spend so much time in the car?"
As an adult society and civilisation, we pride ourselves in our achievements. See what we have done!
Yes, we have made huge strides in public health - eliminating diseases like smallpox, and effectively treating and controlling others.
We have made dramatic advances in the physical sciences, in communications and computers, in space travel and exploration
And yet Our era has been plagued with wars and rumours of wars, with immorality in political and church leadership, with desperate starvation, with domestic violence and marriage breakdown, with abuse and exploitation of children
See what we have done We are such a mixture of brilliance and brokenness. We show off our brilliance and struggle with our brokenness.
We reveal ourselves to be just as the Biblical record describes - on the one hand, made in the image of God, yet, on the other, fallen creatures trying to live independently of God.
Two thousand years ago some Jewish shepherds were "living out in the fields" near Bethlehem "keeping watch over their flocks by night" (Lk. 2.8).
It began as an ordinary night. It became extraordinary when they saw an angel of the Lord and were bathed in the glory of the Lord. The experience was awesome, but the angel said, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" (vv. 10-12).
Then they saw "a great company of the heavenly host" - not just a choir, by the way, but an army, because there is a battle going on - "Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men on whom his favour rests" (vv. 13-14).
The shepherds decided immediately, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about" (v. 15).They weren't setting off to satisfy their curiosity about some odd event they had heard about. They were going to see what God had done.
It is now two thousand years later. Many are attracted to the beautiful human story - about Mary and Joseph, the Baby laid in the manger, the shepherds and the angels, the wise men and the star They are moved by thoughts of "peace" and "goodwill" - commodities too often in short supply in our world. But they don't get round to seeing what God has done.
We don't have enough true peace and goodwill because we have failed to grasp that it is God's peace and goodwill that were being announced. Most modern translations highlight this with the words, "peace on earth to those on whom [God's] favour rests." Somehow we would like "peace and goodwill" without giving "glory to God".
We need to see what God has done! And what has he done?
"Today a Saviour has been born to you." Here is a Baby born for a purpose - "to save his people from their sins" as the angel said to Joseph (Mt. 1.21). Beyond the cradle, see the cross. He was born for you - but look forward from the Christmas story and remember that he died for you and rose victorious for you.
He is called "Christ" - Messiah, anointed one - the one God had promised long ago. God has done what he had promised. God is always true to his Word.
He is "Christ the Lord". Here is not just another baby of destiny. God himself - God the Son - has come into human history. A voice from heaven at his baptism said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased" (Mt. 3.17). At his transfiguration, the same voice was heard to say, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Mt. 17.5)
This is what God has done - true to his promise, he sent his Son to be our Saviour. That's what Christmas is all about! Come and see! Come and believe! Welcome him as your Saviour and Lord! Receive his peace and goodwill - and spread it around wherever you go!