Monday, December 08, 2008

You take one Holy Baby....

My kids have been playing with the Little People Nativity set for a few days now. We had a special carved nativity that stayed under our tree when I was a child and it was one of my favorite decorations at Christmastime. The thing I love about nativity sets is how they allow you to 'enter in' to the story of Christmas even though it happened over 2000 years ago.
This commericial set doesn't quite do Bethlehem justice if you ask me, but my kids love to play with it so much. I wrote earlier about the tension I feel at this time of year- the struggle to strike balance between the real reason to celebrate Christmas versus the glitz of twinkling lights, cookies, candy and gifts wrapped in colorful papers.
The more I have thought about it and the more I have seen my kids playing with this set (and a couple of others we have too), I have felt more assured that they understand what Christmas is all about. I don't know that any of us will ever fully comprehend the depth and meaning of what God has done through this gift of His Son Jesus, but I think we are headed in the right direction and I feel like really, it's not up to me to make sure my kids "get Christmas"; instead I believe that God will work in each of their hearts in His way and His time. I feel so much more at ease- more calm and bright- knowing that God has their little hearts in His constant care.
What really struck me the past few days is some of the things that you hear and read from the Christian community this time of year.
Have any of you heard or seen the words, "Keep Christ in Christmas"? Or remember that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season"? Now I think that these are very valid and can be catchy phrases to help some people focus on what matters, but I truly believe that for some people it becomes the only time they think and focus on Christ. I think that while catchy phrases may have meaning, somtimes they miss the real point.
I thought of this as Ava went downstairs to the rest of her Little People playsets and chose a few happy children and Santa and a couple of Care Bears and Hello Kitty to come up and join the wise men and angle in the nativity to welcome baby Jesus as she played. I couldn't help but think again how Jesus came for ALL people and he didn't just give his love to us at Christmastime, but every single day- forevermore. He loved us so much that he made a way for all to know Him intimately- His gift of salvation is free to any sinner who simply asks for His forgiveness and repents. Jesus became a baby- a man- and lived a perfect, holy life and then shed His blood on a cross. He died, was buried and then rose again- to take away our sins and restore a right relationship with God through His death.
I think Christmas is a special time to reflect and to celebrate and recall this amazing story that is one part of God's plan for us- sinners. It is a wonderful time for us, who have accepted and believe that Jesus is the way, to share our faith and celebrate what and why we believe what we believe and to offer others this same free gift.
But to think that we have to do something to keep Christ in Christmas to me seems like we're missing the main point of what God intended to do through this baby. Yes, God sent His son to the earth and Jesus was born in a little stable, and his mother, Mary, wrapped him in cloths and lay him in a manger. That's a wonderful story, but I think God meant for it to be something bigger than just a nice little story. He sent His son to earth to change hearts and lives. God loved us so much that the birth of His Son paved the way for everyone to know real Love and real Peace and to have Hope in a dark and hopeless world.
I love that my kids can play with a little toyset and understand this nice story, yes. But my real hope is that they can grasp that Christ wants to live in our hearts and be a part of our lives each and everyday. I hope they grow up knowing that we need to keep Christ in our lives and depend on His strength and we need His forgiveness so many times in our life. Not just at Christmas- as special as this time can be. We need this story to affect the way we live always. Feel free to follow this link for more insights and meanigful ways to "live out Christmas" beyond this month. May the Spirit of this season touch your life in a meaningful way- today and all the year through!


asnipofgoodness said...

That's right, a free gift for all to enjoy, no price at all for us, but Jesus, he paid the price for us! Thanks for sharing, your wish is mine also! It is so fun to see virtually the whole world celebrate his birth, even if they don't understand it!

jsprik said...

you definitely have a way with words, jody! this is how i feel in my heart but could never put it as eliquently as you have! Christ should be the center of our lives ALWAYS, not just during the Christmas Season!! so true!! be blessed!!

Kyra said...

I agree. I teach preschool and the kids love to have all toys visit the stable and I welcome them to take Jesus along. He loves everyone. I will have to send you a picture of one of them who is fascinated with Crew's picture. I leave your blog on during playtime so they can enjoy the music. Thanks for putting it together.

Kristin said...

Amen! I could not agree with you more. Thank you for reminding me that Christmas is a "special" time, but everyday is a "special" time as well. You are right on every count!