Like the three wise men, we seem ever in search of the holy infant, a vessel of innocence who may yet also be a god in disguise or an eminence in waiting. Certain kids get a special high-chair in the Great Chain of Being.
What's often behind this unearthly notion is easy enough to spot: divine right legitimizes the inheritance of authority and wealth by child successors of those with all-too-earthly powers. Even so, god-child narratives draw from a familiar and primordial magic, the paradoxical pairing of naïveté with insight, helplessness with omnipotence.
The wealthy young Gautama is said to have performed many miracles while growing up to be Buddha, yet even his legend can scarcely compare to that of the world's number-one son, the boy asleep in the manger. Wise and self-possessed from infancy, the Christ Child has been a fetish of Western art for two millennia. (Oddly, once his adorable years are behind him, our Wunderkind disappears from art and story until reaching middle age, where He materializes again as an itinerant carpenter, a holy man, and a confirmed bachelor.)
It's the same everywhere. The Hindus of India consider young children to be little gods, and some still worship newborns beset by "god-given" birth defects. Tibetan Buddhists search among the toddlers for their next reincarnated leader.
Some years ago, an earnest acquaintance sought to convince me that righteous followers of the Mormon faith shall, after death, attain the status of minor deities and be awarded their own planet to rule. I have wondered ever since whether latter-day-sainted children who die young might also enjoy this provenance. A cosmic child, in charge of our world gone haywire? Yes, I suppose that would explain everything.
TITLE - "The Godson"
WHERE - Port Moody, British Columbia (2021)