Two days ’til Christmas. I hope you’re smiling!
It’s been a quiet Christmas season so far at our house, and I’ve had lots of time for reflection. I always find it interesting how seemingly unrelated thoughts converge …
My recently-passed mother-in-law’s legalistic understanding of the Bible and her fear of letting others see the “real” in her life; her fear of dying.
Our friend who lost her battle with brain cancer just last week; the one who saw hearts everywhere she went. A woman who chose to embrace death “and do it well,” blessing those around her even as her body drew closer to eternity.
A “kids and the nativity” story I remembered reading last Christmas at the blog Sit A Spell. Here’s an excerpt.
Tis the season for nativity sets. I lovingly unwrap Mary and baby Jesus every year. The sheep. The shepherds. There they sit. Holy. Beautiful. Lovely.
cue: record scratch
Unless you have kids in the house. Especially if you have boy kids in the house.
The things poor baby Jesus has been through in this family in years past are truly embarrassing.
I have found him in couch cushions.
In the back of dump trucks.
In the driveway.
I’ve had to bust up tiffs between siblings when baby Jesus was brought into their super hero battles. It’s just not fair that baby Jesus wins every single time. Baby Jesus as an action figure is unstoppable…
Oh, there’s more if you click on the link above. Much more.
I laughed out loud … again and again … as I read. You see, I’m the mother of two now-grown-up little girls. There were no disappearing nativity figures at our house, and a nativity set was not the genesis of super hero battles.
You see, I don’t want the manger to be off-limits. I don’t want the Baby to be unapproachable. When God chose to send his only son, Jesus, into the world as a human child, it was His gift of love to all mankind … and an invitation for relationship.
Jesus came to be the Savior, yours and mine. All we have to do is believe in him … and accept his invitation.
The relationship needn’t be one of fear or legalism; that suggests a manger that is unapproachable. Instead, perhaps we should admit that over the past 2000+ years society has deified the place where Jesus was born. We’ve sculpted beautiful and expensive nativity sets … and displayed them as focal points of ethereal reverence.
We’ve forgotten that the baby was born amidst the noise and filth of a cattle stall … yet he came to bring peace. He came as light to a world living in darkness. He came to offer hope. Still does. He came as Immanuel: God WITH us. Relationship. Personal. Approachable.
Of course I realize the little boys were playing with a toy-like figure, but I still think they had it right when they took Jesus out of his “hands off” environment, allowing him to be part of their everyday … to be WITH them … in their noisy, sometimes inharmonious, “real world” of humanity. Somehow, I think they knew he was right where he wanted to be. Kids understand. They know they don’t have to change a thing before letting Jesus join their reality. They just have to invite him into their story … and he accepts them right where they are.
He does the same for grown-ups, too …
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.