Thursday, December 19, 2013

When Jesus has Left the Manger

My Christmas tree is propped in the corner of my living room, tilted a little to the right.  Ornaments litter the top half of the tree while the bottom half sits bare from the hands of little thieves.  (Eh-hmm... specifically, my 1 year old, Dutchy!)  Atop my tree, all prickly and dry, sits a glittery white star, iridescent and old; jewels missing and wires bent.

We have a Christmas tree.  We have stockings.  I have even perched a jolly stuffed Santa on my mantle, clinging tightly to painted piece of wood which reads, "Believe in Santa".  And, then, to my left sits a plastic manger, perfect for teensy sticky hands to touch and hold.  Jesus is missing though.  He has been lifted from the stable and placed amongst the other toys, somewhere, unknown.  I silently laugh as I say to myself..."Attention Everyone: JESUS HAS LEFT THE MANGER!"

But then, I sit here, in my living room, looking at my crooked, half decorated tree and the empty manger, and then to my rosy-cheeked Santa, wondering to myself if this is the praise my God deserves as I celebrate the coming of his one and only son.  Maybe Jesus leaving my smudgy manger wasn't a bad thing... maybe he left on purpose... and maybe, that is what I need.  

The fact is that this holiday, the plastic baby Jesus wrapped in a stark white blanket, and surrounded by golden piles of lush soft hay is not who I seek.

This year, I need the real Jesus to show up.  My family has experienced crisis.  Since the week after thanksgiving, I have had a close family member in the hospital, fighting to regain his life.  I am looking for a miracle this Christmas, the type of miracle that only Jesus himself can accomplish.

The Jesus I am looking for does not fit in the plastic manger on my in-table, and he will not be sliding down my chimney on December 24 in the form of a Saint named Nicholas.  Nope.  And, also, no light display can compare to the glory of the Jesus I pursue.

The power of my Jesus totally eclipses this other "stuff"... this "stuff" that Christmas has become.  God did not send Jesus Christ to this earth in the form of a tiny baby, so that I could give my child a Star Wars action figure this Christmas.  For me to believe this and perpetuate this belief is ridiculous and boils down to blasphemy.

Lord, this Christmas am I like Rachel, in the book of Genesis, who hides her father's idols in the bags of her saddle...clinging so tightly to tradition that I am unable to reach for Jesus?!  I pray not.

Jesus Christ came in the form of an innocent baby, to break the curse of sin and death, and give me HOPE.  A HOPE THAT THRILLS MY WEARY AND DEFEATED HEART....

Hope for the one who is fighting to get his life back, hope for the Mother who has lost her son, hope for widow and the fatherless, and hope for the poor and the meek.  Nothing about Jesus's life represented abundance, or wealth, or glitter and tinsel, or fame and fortune... Jesus's message was about becoming less, expecting nothing, and recognizing the FREE act of faith.   How then friend did Satan twist such a beautiful story, with a lowly message into a celebration causing debt, guilt and heartache?  (<-- That's for another post...)

This Christmas I need Jesus.

I come to him on my knees, touching his garment of healing for my friend with cancer... I come before him carrying my dear loved one pleading ... I come to him afraid, and yet believing... I come to him at the end of my rope, seeking hope and trusting in his promise.

I look at the empty manger, and I am thankful; more than thankful... I REJOICE.  I am eternally grateful for the gift of Jesus Christ, but friends HIS gift lies beyond the stable.... I need him to walk the earth, to die, to be resurrected and to sit by the father and be my intercessor to the most Holy God.

Isaiah 9:6 
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the 

government will be on his shoulders. 

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, 

Mighty God, 

Everlasting Father, 

Prince of Peace.

Thanks for reading, friend.

Romans 10:9- If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Daughter and her Dolls.... A Letter About Motherhood.

My daughter is 3.  Everyday, all day, she sits at my feet and begs me to play "babies" with her.  

"After breakfast will you play babies with me, Mommy?"  

"Mom, can you play babies with me after Daniel Tiger?"

"When you are done going potty, will you be the Daddy... and then I will be the Mommy?" 

I can't shake this little girl... she is relentless.  No matter what my excuse, she has a come back that I cannot turn down.  Between the sink full of dishes, the exploding dirty diapers, and running from very vicious laundry monsters, who the heck would willingly "PLAY" house!!!!  Eeeekk... can't I get a break, even in imaginary land?  What about playing dress up, or hair stylist, or doctor?!?!

But, alas, the twinkle in her eye pierces my little heart and all of a sudden my to-do list shrivels up and the windex falls from my hand and I am heading to her room and I am on the floor feeding 16 babies oatmeal for breakfast.  

As I am sitting there in a floor full of babies, I realize something....Playing babies is nothing like real life at all.... what was I dreading???? This is a dream!!!  No crying, no whining and a bunch of clean babies with smiles plastered to their faces (literally) grinning back at me!!  

As I watch my little girl tend to her tiny orphanage of unclothed babes I laughed.  If she only knew what a REAL baby was like... (muhahaha)

Dear Zadie, 

Did you know that... 

1: Real babies cannot be picked up by their heads and carried around. 
While I know this is a viable solution for transporting tiny plastic humans, please do not resort to this tactic in real life.  Your baby will probably suffer long term brain damage and hopefully someone will call the authorities on you.  Shame, shame.

2: Real babies take more than 1 bite.
I realize that as you are feeding your babes lunch, they only require one quick and easy bite of food for an entire meal... wellllll not so much with real babies.  Not only do they require more than 1 bite of food, it also requires the fine art of getting the food into the babies mouth.  This will at times, require funny noises, silly faces and throwing all your dignity out the window.  ... Yea, and I am not sure when that dignity returns. 

3: Real bottles don't refill themselves. 
If someone wants to make millions and millions, possibly trillions, of dollars, make a real bottle that fills itself back up with milk... or orange juice... (or a little Benadryl)... because I know a trillion moms who would buy it, and then kiss your feet as they throw wads of cash in your face.  Yes.  Someone, please, invent this. ( I swear I will be refilling bottles and sippy cups until they are in college.)

4: Real babies, they don't stay where you put them. 
I know it is fun to line up all 24 of your babies to go to sleep.... it must be, I can't imagine.  See, I have been fighting this very fight for 6 years now... trying to lay a baby in one single place and then be able to shut off the lights and return in the morning.  Yea... it has never turned out like I plan.  I probably would have 24 kids if I didn't have to argue with a brick wall to get them to stay in their bed at bedtime.... and then, to wake up without elbows and toes in my face the next morning, that would be nice too.  

5: Real babies cry... they cry a lot.  
Out of all your baby dolls, one of them cries.  That one baby has a paci sewed to her chest.  When you put the paci in said baby's mouth, the crying ceases and cooing commences.  Well.  Wouldn't that be nice.  (No, not sewing a paci to a babies chest... but that would be ah-mazing too!)  A house full of babies that didn't cry, not even one little wince... yummmmm, I could just eat all those imaginary babies up with a spoon.  I love them already and they don't even exist. 

You know what, Zadie.  I was there too.  I played babies when I was three...and then a long time after that... and I loved it.  I loved picking out their little outfits and brushing their hair.  I loved being their mommy then.... but now... I reaaallly love being your Mommy today.  You know why?  Because...  

Real Mommies get REAL hugs and kisses.

Real Mommies get to watch squirmy little boys drift off to sleep after hours of rocking, back and forth, back and forth. 

Real Mommies get to listen to their child sound out their first words and paint their first pictures. 

Real Mommies laugh as they watch their babies smear themselves with spaghetti for 20 minutes at dinner and then spend the rest of the evening cleaning it up. 

Real Mommies cry big huge crocodile tears as their teensy little baby walks through the halls to kindergarten. 

Real Mommies can kiss boo-boos away with magical superpowers. 

And when Real Mommies are having the very worst days, they get to hear small voices say"I love you", which makes everything worth it. 

Keep rocking those little dolls, sweet girl.  Pick them up by the head as often as you want, and enjoy those silent cries and imaginary bellies needing food.... but know that none of the luxuries your wittle-fake-babies offer compares to the beauty that real motherhood has ahead.  

Oh, and there will be crying, lots of crying.  (By both baby and Mommy...) 

Never say I didn't warn you.

But, the sweetness brings so much more joy.  

Thanks for Reading, friends. 

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