and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. ~Luke 2:7
We have three young children. It is a really wonderful and fun time of life. It can also really be tiring (I need a nap). However, the one thing life never is- is dull. Life is not dull with three young children. No.
Which brings me to the dilemma of Christmas present shopping. We need a babysitter to go pick out Christmas presents. And yes, we both need to go. I have proven that I have terrible taste in gifts (picking out only educational* (aka non-fun) gifts, or cheap gifts that break quickly). And maybe I could leave it all to my husband, but where is the fun in that? So we got a babysitter. I was overly optimistic that my youngest was going to do well with a babysitter. He had survived the first test run with her. We had put a movie on as soon as she arrived and returned home while the movie was still going. I don’t think he even noticed we’d left the house. So yes, I was over confident that this date was going to go well. … … Until the babysitter texted us before we’d even finished our dinner (we were making it a real date):
[The youngest] ran upstairs about 15 minutes ago. He won’t come back down. He is hiding under the computer desk with his blanket and says he won’t come out until you come home. He is okay as long as I don’t go by him. What should I do?
I saw that text, stood up, and headed for the door. My husband, slightly more sane and less impulsive than I am, slowed me down. We called the babysitter and made sure she was okay with the situation. We gave her a few ideas to ‘lure’ him out, and then I sat through the rest of dinner with the phone clutched tightly in my hand waiting for her to text or call me with more news. The genius babysitter turned on his favorite TV show, and this led to him coming to the top of the stairs, and then he sat on the stairs to watch his show, and by the time we came home he was sitting at the kitchen table playing Gone Fishing with big sister and the babysitter.
Now here’s the thing. I get my youngest. I understand two-year-olds. Because I’m still a lot like him. I don’t want to try new things. I like things the way they are. Change is scary and hard. I want to hide under the computer desk with my blankie at times too. Thankfully I have a level headed man who takes me by the hand and drags me out into society. And thankfully I have a grace filled God who relentlessly pursues me.
All throughout time you can see God pursuing His People. And foolishly we keep messing up. We turn to other gods, we think we can do it ourselves, we chose evil… we mess up! But Advent, this time of year, it’s not about presents (educational or not). It’s not even about the cookies (I do love the cookies). This time of year is the reminder that even though we are the sinners, the mess makers, the unworthy, God who is infinitely worthy and holy has chosen us. He has come into this world to redeem and reclaim us. And what has He given us? The very things we are pleading for: forgiveness, peace, rest, redemption, grace. We are filled to overflowing, when we let ourselves be filled and satisfied with Jesus Christ.
As this Christmas season is quickly advancing, I keep thinking how I need a little rest. And how perfectly this song fits into our busy Christmas schedules. If I were a part in the Christmas story, I think I would (unfortunately) be the Inn Keeper. So busy with my own little mundane tasks, that I would miss the birth of my savior, right down the street. So inwardly focused on wanting my own rest and peace, that I would not realize the Prince of Peace had arrived. I have been reflection on this a lot, as I listen to one of my favorite Christmas CDs. I hope you enjoy this song by Jason Gray:
Lord, you came! You did it! You found a way into our world, and into our hearts. Help us to be more aware of You, and all that you have done. Help our hearts to turn towards You, help our ways to be more like your ways. Help us to be more like the shepherds, willing to drop everything and run to worship you! Help us to stop looking in the wrong places for peace and rest, but to trust in You. To find our peace and rest in You. Thank you that you came! Thank you that you relentlessly pursue us- that no matter how many mistakes we make, you do not shame us or hurt us. Instead you fill us with your love and peace. Again and again, you extend peace and love to us. Thank you! In Jesus name, Amen!
*this year I picked out a fraction game for my eldest. Yes, a fraction game. Sounds thrilling doesn’t it? This is the kind of present my child will bring up later in life as a sort of comedic horror story for everyone. I see ‘educational’ and I think ‘great!’