As a baby, our son was allergic to milk. So we had to give him Similac, a soybean product. But as a child, he outgrew the allergy. Milk was no longer a problem.
The words “baby” and “child” carry different connotations. A baby is an infant – a pre-toddler, not yet weaned – or still taking a bottle. But “child” is a word we usually reserve for someone beyond the baby stage. Now this distinction between a baby and a child has an interesting application to the birth account of Jesus.
Luke, for instance, tells the story of Jesus’ birth by using the Greek word for a baby. He tells of the conception and actual birth of the infant Jesus. Matthew, on the other hand, tells us of the visit of the wise men and uses the Greek word for “child.” In Matthew 2:11 he says of the Magi, “And when they were come into the house,” (notice it’s not the manger scene anymore) “they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him.”
The word “young child” here is the Greek word paidíon — a word usually reserved for a weaned child. Or, as Strong’s Concordance puts it, “a half-grown boy or girl”.
Now the point here is that when the wise men visit Jesus, He is no longer an infant. He is a child. This of course, is why Herod in his attempt to kill Jesus in Bethlehem, slew all of the children two years old and under. So Jesus was most likely a toddler when the wise men came to worship Him – not an infant.
Well, on Christmas Eve as you look at the manger scene with the shepherds and wise men grouped together around the manger, you can have a better understanding of the actual story and realize that whether Jesus is an infant, a child, or a man hanging on a cross, He is worthy of our worship – for He is God.
Say – Take time to worship Jesus today. That’s the best way to spend your Christmas Eve.