Friday, December 10, 2010

"Baby Jesus Born!"

This is what Eli says when we ask him what happens at Christmas. I have loved this Christmas season as I watch my toddler begin to understand what it all means. We have tried to be really purposeful with what we talk about and read, what we play with and sing about this month. We really want him to soak up the meaning of this season, to remember the truths that are illuminated through holiday traditions. Because, while he is too young yet to comprehend the meaning of the Son of God taking on human flesh to bring God's miraculous mercy to sinful man, he is definitely not too young to know that Jesus loves him, and that Christmas is when we joyfully celebrate His birthday.

We have an Advent calendar with 25 tiny drawers. I filled it this year with Scripture, family activities, service projects, and the characters from a tiny manger scene. Eli truly delights in opening a drawer every night. He gets excited when Eric reads to us the day's Scripture passage ("Daddy read Bible!") and loves to set up the little manger scene. Today he was playing with it, setting Mary inside the little stable, and he said, "Mary wait Baby Jesus." My heart just leapt, hearing my precious son articulate his understanding of what Advent is all about. Truly, we are waiting for Baby Jesus. We are preparing our hearts for the coming of the King- the humble, infant King born in the lowliest of places, breaking through time and space to bring the holiness and mercy of God to earth.

Eric and I have been reading Walter Wangerin's Preparing for Jesus, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Every day of Advent there is a devotion, a passage of Scripture to read, and a prayer. It has been so amazing to experience God's work in our hearts to deepen our understanding of what it means to wait for our King. We are so excited for Christmas morning, when we'll open the 25th drawer of the Advent calendar and find the tiny Baby Jesus, He for whom we so eagerly wait. Because, as cliche as it sounds to say it, the only reason we have to celebrate this season at all is that Baby Jesus was born.