Monday, December 25, 2017

The Baby Jesus

One day, when she was around three, Abby stood next to me in the bathroom as I fixed my hair. It was near Christmas and she was singing a song she had learned in Sunday school. I listened to her sing and realized she was a bit confused.

She sang, "Always in a manger, no crib for His head..."

I swallowed a laugh and told her, "No, Honey. It's not 'always,' it's 'away in a manger.'"

"Okay," she said, and started in again. "Away in a manger..."

But it made me think. Always in a manger. . . .

It's appropriate to celebrate Jesus' miraculous birth. God Himself marked the event with an angel choir. But we can't leave Jesus there, in a manger. His birth was not the whole story. He came to Earth to grow into an extraordinary youth who dazzled priests with His knowledge; to become a teacher who fed multitudes; and a Redeemer who sacrificed His life for our eternal salvation.

It's easier to think about the baby Jesus. It doesn't require much of us. Granted, it takes faith to believe in His virgin birth, but there is nothing about His birth that makes us consider ourselves, our sinfulness. It's Jesus the Man who demands something of us. His death on the cross—we have to do something with that. We can choose to ignore it, we can dismiss it, or we can be changed by it.

Christmas is a time of joy and gladness—it's good news that Jesus came. But we can't leave Jesus in the manger. He didn't come to Earth to be a baby. He came to Earth to be a Savior.

December 22, 2004

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Hand to Hold

Abby's first high school choir concert was a lesson in friendship. Abby was in the jazz choir, an all-girl group that sang more contemporary music and often incorporated choreography.

Part way through the jazz choir's portion of the program, Abby and her friend Christine stepped over to the mike to sing a duet. They sang Grown Up Christmas List, a sweet song about what adults might ask Santa to give them for Christmas.

They used a prerecorded accompaniment track. Abby started the song alone and came in a bit early. It sounded okay, and most people probably couldn't tell she’d come in wrong. Then, she forgot the words, stopped singing, stepped back, put her head down ....

Seeing her friend in trouble, Christine slipped her hand into Abby's and started singing with her. That got Abby back on track and they did fine the rest of the song. When they were done, Christine reached over and gave Abby a hug—right there on the stage. I cried through the whole song—it's a mother thing—but seeing Christine's love for Abby made me a blubbering fool.

When I falter, I count on my friends to reach over and take my hand. I need them to sing with me and give me the courage to go on. And give me a hug when we make it through.

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts.
Everyone would have a friend
And right would always win,
And love would never end.
This is my grown up Christmas list.

 Grown Up Christmas List by Linda Thompson-Jenner, 1990

December 22, 2005