I once had an older lady in my church tell me that God always gave her a personal Christmas gift each year. If I’m honest, the word “charismatic” floated across my mind as she was talking…but I knew this woman and I knew her deep love for the Lord, so I found that as she continued, I began to believe her. She did indeed receive a gift from God every single Christmas. She could tell me each one from years past and how the Lord worked in mysterious ways to bring them. You could see the genuineness in her eye as she anticipated what He might bring her this year. The last fleeting thought that passed through my mind as I left was, “Man, I wish that would happen to me.”
Well…It just might be that she has somehow, supernaturally, passed on that tradition to my small, little family of 2.
This last year has been a hard one with Wesley’s dad. If you have read my last couple posts, you’d know that his dad has been taking him out of our church each week. As a mom and as a believer, I worry about what he is missing each Sunday and the truth that he isn't getting because of his absence. Of course, I teach him at home without ceasing, but church is so important and so biblical. While it is a conscious effort on my part to trust God through this, it still remains just that…a conscious effort. Trusting God, for me, can sometimes be a practice and I’ve gotten a lot of practice this last year.
As Wes and I have been settling in for the holiday season, we decided one evening recently to decorate our Christmas tree. Wes has a small one of his own and we have our larger family tree in the living room. This year his enthusiasm was different! He was so eager to help me put on all of the ornaments we have been collecting through the years. In the past, he hasn’t truly appreciated all of the different parts of Christmas. To see him so excited about it this year was such a welcomed surprise. We spent about an hour listening to Christmas music and filling up our bare trees. The finished trees complemented our lives…comfortable and simple. After this, I asked him if he wanted to help me set up the nativity, to which he responded with a hearty, “Sure!”
The perfect place was decided upon and we began making room on the table beside our couch. I began pulling out the pieces and handing them to Wes. I told him he could put them anywhere he wanted. He happily ensued on his job as I happily continued handing him pieces. When all the pieces had been opened, I turned around to see the nativity and it looked like this:
Immediately, I began to say, “Oh, uh oh Bud. Most of the pieces are backwards and we can't see them…” Then I quickly stopped myself and I might have gasped a bit. I stared at that lovely manger scene and said, “Actually Wes, that is perfect… Absolutely perfect. Let’s leave it just like that. Okay?” And as he beamed with pride, he said, “Okay!”
This was my Christmas gift.
This was God’s way of saying, “See Lauren? Your five year old gets it. He didn't set the pieces up backwards...he set up the manger scene so that it is the perfect representation of that heavenly night. The animals, the shepherds, the angels, Mary and Joseph, all crowded around trying to get even one small glimpse... of the baby.”
Yes, Lord, I see it.
It says in the Bible that Mary “treasured these things in her heart”. I will treasure this Christmas gift from God. I think it's His way of reassuring this mom that somewhere, somehow, Jesus’s kingship is settling into my son’s soul. I’ll think about this gift when he’s whining for the 5th time. I’ll think about this gift when he doesn’t get a stamp at school and I’ll think about this gift when I’m so frustrated that he’s being pulled out of our church…yet again.
So, if you come by our house in the holiday future and you see our nativity scene and it looks to the world that it’s backwards or not set up right, we are okay with that. We want you to know that this pictures our love for Christmas and why we so adore that marvelous night.
May every Christmas season be filled by us crowding around the manger scene in the hopes of getting one glimpse of the baby.