There are two kinds of people currently in this world: those who love The Mandalorian and those who haven’t seen it. This show is beloved by Star Wars superfans and the casual Star Wars follower alike; the former for its brilliant way of incorporating characters and events from the Star Wars world and the latter for just being an all around good show. It is one of those rare productions where the visuals, the music, the acting, and the story all come together to make a beautiful and captivating work of art. But more than all of this, the primary appeal of this show is really based on one thing: The Child.

“The Child” aka “Baby Yoda” (for those of you who have been living in a galaxy far far away) is the small Yoda-like character in The Mandalorian on Disney+. I would venture a guess that “Baby Yoda” themed gifts were among the most popular this past Christmas (at least they were in our household). What is it about this strange (and let’s face it, extremely cute) little creature that makes such an impression?

The complete opposite of a small, helpless child, the Mandalorian is a rigid, set-in-his-ways bounty-hunter. He’s tough and in no need of help from anyone. He mechanically and skillfully carries out his bounty hunting missions, until one mission turns his whole life upside down.

The Mandalorian (or “Mando” as most of the characters call him throughout the show) is given the job of capturing the child, but after delivering him to his captors, he has a change of heart and instead rescues the creature. From this point on, the Mandalorian will never be the same. His life of hunting becomes a life on the run as the hunted, and there is no turning back.

Throughout the episodes, more and more mysteries surrounding the child are revealed (including his real name) and the powers he possesses. It starts to become clear that, though the Mandalorian is the one taking care of him, the child is more powerful than he will ever be.

Throughout the two seasons we notice the Mandalorian slowly and almost imperceptibly change. His bond with the child is clear from the beginning, but caring for him without compromising who he is as a Mandalorian becomes more of a struggle. His rigid and dogmatic ways are put into question when the child’s life becomes his top priority. The Mandalorian mantra that he has grown up hearing and saying, “This is the way,” becomes more like, “This is the way … unless it is for the sake of the child.” It turns out that love changes the old rules. Mando’s main purpose changes from following a code, to following a child.

Which makes me think of another man who puts aside a reputation and rules in order to care for a child: Joseph, who finds out that his betrothed, Mary, is with child. His conclusion is what any logical person would assume, and he plans to dismiss her quietly, according to the rules he has learned his whole life. However, after an angel tells him to take Mary as his wife and that this child is from the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:19-25), he makes the scandalous decision to put aside his own life and reputation and become a father to Jesus. Like Mando, he is given the task of guarding and protecting a child that is not his and that will be full of surprises. Neither of them can predict or control a future with such a child.

Just like the child in The Mandalorian, Jesus changes hearts, is more powerful than those who care for him, and can heal both his protectors and his enemies. As Jesus grows up, more and more is revealed about his power and purpose. I think about the few stories we have in the Bible about Jesus as a baby and a young boy and what Mary and Joseph must have thought. The shepherds (Lk 2:8-20) and the Magi (Mt 2:1-12) visiting Jesus in Bethlehem, Jesus being presented at the temple where Simeon and Anna reveal him to be the long-awaited messiah (Lk 2:21-40), and the 12-year-old Jesus staying back in the temple to instruct the wise teachers (2:46-51). In all of these instances, Jesus’ parents are astonished. And yet, after finding the young Jesus in the temple he goes back to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph and is obedient to them (2:51). It truly is astonishing that, despite the power he has even as a child, the Son of God humbles himself to be under the authority of earthly parents.

Perhaps one of the most striking similarities between the Mandalorian and Joseph is the heart-wrenching fact that one day they will have to let go of the child they have cared for and loved. In both cases, however, you have a sense that this goodbye will mean good news for all.