Pin It

the baby is coming

2 Comments

Just what does Advent mean to you?

Years ago my parents bought me a hand-carved wooden nativity scene from Bethlehem that they found on their trip to Israel. For over a decade now I’ve pulled that treasure out each year to enjoy – first as a single woman, then sharing it with my husband, and now with my children.

Although we have a Fisher-Price “Little People” nativity for the kids to play with, Levi finds the wooden “grown up” one much more alluring. At first I didn’t allow him to play with it because I didn’t want to risk pieces getting lost, but after a few days of him constantly lurking and hovering I decided it wasn’t so “precious” that I should be keeping it to myself. If that’s the one that he likes and will help him learn the Christmas Story, then so be it.

Now multiple times a day you can find him standing in front of the shelf it lives on for the month of December. He rearranges the figures, calls them by name (“dada”, “mama”, and “gee” for Jesus), and tells his own stories as he goes.

One afternoon I caught of glance of his latest arrangement: Mary and Joseph and a wise man clustered in one corner (see the back right in the photo there!), another wise man standing alone in the opposite corner (the back left), and another wise man surrounded by the sheep and cows he was tending in another corner (at the front). The baby Jesus was in the middle, with no other people or animals around him.

Quickly my mind jumped to how accurate a reflection that was for many of us during this time of year: some of us are caught up in the parties and events and social merriment; some of us have heartache ampliphied and so we isolate ourselves in order to cope and end up feeling even more alone; and others of us get caugth up in the work of preparations and planning and cooking and “fun”.

And there in the middle of it all is the Baby Jesus, alone.

{I’ll show you the picture again so you can get a visual.}

Now we all know that when a newborn bursts onto the scene they stop friends and families and strangers alike in their tracks. Everyone is fascinated by how tiny, how vulnerable, how wonderful, how perfect they are. Hearts are melted, people stand in awe, and the world (rightly) revolves around them.

So it should be with Baby Jesus as the center of Christmas.

I’ve been careful this year to spend time thinking about the Advent – the coming of Christ. Not unlike being pregnant, we wait this time of year for the arrival of Christmas – the arrival of the Baby King. We anticipate, we prepare, we get our homes and our lives in order. As a mother nests and wants everything “just right” for her new baby, so we want our lives and hearts to be ready to welcome the Baby as we celebrate Christmas with loved ones.

Although I’ve been more deliberate to meditate on The Coming this year more than ever before, I’ve also found it more difficult to keep the Baby Jesus central.

The demands of this season of life with littles can feel overwhelming at times, and I can easily feel incapable of steping up to the plate the way I want to or know I “should”. I’m running on very little sleep, very little time to myself or with my [patient and incredibly gracious and understanding] husband, and very little margin to breath should things go “wrong” with the best-laid-out plans.

But in the midst of sometimes feeling like I’m failing or falling or fizzling, I’m finding that just like my little baby son Judah, the Baby King loves me and thinks the world of me. Like Judah, just when I need it most He locks eyes with me and smiles with His whole being, speaking words that I don’t always understand but leave no doubt in my mind that I am loved without reservation or condition.

In those moments I remember that the most important thing is to keep the Baby central.

As I wait I’m reminded—like Mary—about the pains and concerns of carrying a child to term – both the tangible physical discomforts as well as the ache of a mother’s heart to meet the One who’s coming.

I’m reminded—like Joseph—at how the Miracle of Life is what gathers the most unlikely of people – kings, shepherds, angels, and animals.

I’m reminded—like the wise men—to bring Him what I have that’s precious and valuable to me – my children, my husband, my (lack of) time, my burdens, my passions, and even my tears.

And with all of my “nesting” and gift-giving, preparing and anticipating, partying and celebrating, I ready myself not only to give my life to this Baby… but to receive all that He brings. For it’s in bringing our own offering to Him that we receive the most precious gift of all: life. His life – full, abundant, purposeful, joy-filled, blessed life.

Thank you, Baby, for coming, for gathering us, and for giving so much. Your perfection melts our hearts and fills us with awe.

And now, just for fun, a cute photo of my own little elf baby at Christmas:

Don’t you just love him? I sure do.

Dear friends, as much as I love snowmen and santa, reindeer and cookies, twinkly lights and decked out trees… as a Christian my faith is central to how I want to celebrate Christmas. You may not share my faith but I’m quite sure you’d share my desire for Christmas to be a time of loved ones and meaning, love and hope. How are you keeping the things most important to you central this Christmas season?

2 Comments

  • Reply Lisa @bitesforbabies 13 December 2013 at 11:52 am

    I definitely share your faith…this is a beautiful post! I was just saying to my husband the other day that I wanted to incorporate doing the Nativity scene with the kids when they get a bit older (he’s all for it as this is a tradition in Italy-where he’s from!). I love that Nativity set…just stunning!!!

  • Leave a Reply