Monday, December 26, 2011

Welcome to Our World

Ever since I became a mother, Christmas has had a different meaning for me. Looking at my tiny babies and seeing how helpless they were made the humility of Jesus' incarnation a bit more intense and precious. That he would voluntarily leave heaven to become someone who cried when he was hungry or needed his diaper changed is a bit overwhelming to think about sometimes, especially when I think about the fact that he did it for ME.

Becoming a mother has also made me empathize with Mary a bit more, too. That she would look on that fragile finger, tender brow and feel the tiny heart beating, knowing that her son was different, was GOD, and that she was responsible for his upbringing and care. Wow. I thought I felt a lot of pressure with my 3.

Yesterday was Christmas. I've felt really overwhelmed lately. Homeschooling, a baby, a 4-year-old who constantly toes the line then crosses it defiantly. This year I felt that I hadn't done a good job of building meaningful traditions for my children. I remembered things my own family did and wondered what my kids would remember about Christmases when they are older.

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

I cried a bit. And then I realized that the memories I was recalling were from my high school and college years. I don't even remember Christmas when I was very young except for a few feelings and one memory of a present I found and pretended I didn't know about. 5-year-old feigned surprise. I'm sure my parents saw right through it.

After talking to my pastor's wife on Christmas morning and my brother later that evening, it occurred to me that a) my kids had a pretty memorable day and spent all of December (and November!) anticipating it and b) the traditions I treasure most with my family were done when my mom didn't have babies and toddlers but children who could help her get things done. Luke & Erin weren't disappointed that I didn't decorate more or make a more complicated meal (we had homemade pizza, eaten in shifts because Caroline cried all afternoon and evening). They're 6 & 4 - we made ShrinkyDink ornaments for the dining room light and put on the red chair slipcovers on Christmas Eve so the house would look festive in the morning. Maybe next year we'll add another new thing and eventually they'll add up to our own traditions. This year was simple. Jesus' birth day was pretty simple, too.

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

I hope that my children understand more about "long-awaiting" than just another sticker on the calendar to mark off another day passed, or another magnet up on the fridge advent scene, or another chocolate behind a paper door. I hope that Jesus isn't a Holy Stranger to them, but someone who is at home with us. I hope they feel a hunger in their souls and understand how Jesus fills it. I hope they understand how much Jesus gave up to be with us on Earth and for us to be with him in Heaven. I hope they see the connection between Christmas and Easter and how the one doesn't really make much sense without the other. Because isn't Christmas about hope, REAL hope?

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

1 comment:

Brooke said...

Beautifully realized and written, Katie! Hugs to you, my friend. Love you!