“How am I astonished that there is laid before me a Child, older than all things! His eye is gazing unceasingly upon Heaven. As for the stammering of His mouth, to my seeming, it betokens that with God in silence speaks.
“Who ever saw a Child the whole of Whom beholdeth every place? His look is like one that orders all creatures that are above and that are below! His visage is like that Commander that commandeth all. … How shall I give nourishment to thee that nourishes all from thy table? How shall I bring to swaddling clothes One wrapped round with rays of glory? … With Thee I will flee, that I may gain in Thee Life in every place.” ~St. Ephraim the Syrian
Is this some kind of riddle? A baby older than all things? No, not a riddle but a statement of fact. This Holy Child is one who has his spirit and soul awake and since the spirit and soul are immortal, to look into the eyes of this Child is to look into infinity, to look into truth.
A Holy Child can speak with words, but more often “speaks” with just a glance, for like His Father, he speaks in silence, He speaks in symbols, He speaks in Light. And He speaks to all who will truly listen, but has no time to waste on those who do not wish to listen, who do not want to do their part, who want it all handed to them and don’t want to work for it.
Such a child can behold every place because a spirit is not restricted to any particular physical location, but is in all places at once. His physical body can be in London, but he knows what is happening in Moscow, Rome, and even New York. More importantly, he knows what is happening in higher dimensions, the dimensions beyond the limited world of matter.
As for “ordering” all creatures, above and below, I think that is a poor choice of words on the part of St. Ephraim. As someone who spent several years in the military, I, like many others, do not have a fondness for people who order others to do things and I don’t think that is an accurate way to describe what a Holy Child does. I would say that a Holy Child “instructs” all creatures above and below. He tells us what we should do and how we should behave, but does not give orders like a military officer. We always have the choice to be fools and not do what a Holy Child instructs us to do, and be lost by making such a choice.
Speaking as the mother of the Child, Ephraim has her ask how can she nourish with her milk one who is the true nourishment of the world? There is, in fact, a simple answer to this. She can still give the baby milk to feed the physical body, but a Holy Child will not need much physical nourishment since nourishment of a different sort filters down to the body from the fully awakened and nourished soul full of Divine Light: the true Food of the Gods.
Likewise, you can still wrap a Holy Child in swaddling clothes even though such a Child is “wrapped round with rays of glory”. St. Ephraim is not suggesting that such a Child should be left naked, although there is nothing wrong with nudity, He is simply using this as a device to tell us that a Holy Child glows with an inner Light, a Divine Light. And His eyes gaze upon Heaven unceasingly because He is taking in such Light from the Spiritual Sun.
And when the speaker promises to flee with the Holy Child to gain “life in every place” he means that he will “flee” the physical world by avoiding attachments to it and seek instead the truth, wisdom, and eternal life found on the spiritual levels of reality.