Yes, we made a gingerbread house. Yes, we will read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas tonight. And yes, the kids cannot wait to wake up in the morning and see what Santa brought them.
And yes, they do know the real meaning of the season. The only meaning.
We have many children's bibles on their shelves. Some were given at baby showers, some were given in Sunday school, and others have been gifts for various reasons. Our favorite has easily become The Jesus Storybook Bible. It was written by a woman named Sally Lloyd-Jones.
One of the main reasons Rob and I love to read it the most is that it makes God the hero of every story. So many times I think other bibles for kids make a person the hero. David was the hero when he defeated Goliath. Joseph was the hero when he intepreted the dreams. And so on and so forth. In this telling the author clearly makes God the hero in every story. And not just God. Jesus. From the first description of creation on the first page, Jesus is there.
She tells us from the very beginning that this is the greatest love story ever told. The story that at the center has a baby, the child upon whom everything would depend—Jesus, the only, real true Hero of the Bible.
We didn't time it this way, but Rob started with the kids about a month and a half ago at the beginning and last night we got to the birth of Jesus. On these pages, it seemed as if Lloyd-Jones was referencing Romans 8:19 and "all creation waits in eager expectation." That night in Bethlehem it did seem as if the stars shone brighter and the animals sensed the magnitude of what was occurring, that "all creation was longing."
Which brings us to now. Today. I feel more than ever a longing for the Christ's return. I feel that longing so intensely when I read of a gunman taking lives of first graders sitting innocecntly in their classroom. When I see a horrible cancer rob my little cousins of a chance to grow up with a mother who loved them more than life itself. When a young man I watched grow up decides to take his own life, I cry out to the Lord and beg Him to come again. We are waiting for you, Lord, and along with all of creation we are longing for your return.
That's what is so amazing about Christmas. Not only is it a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, but it is a time to remember that he will come again. That this world is not our home. We are stuck between the "already" and the "not yet". Jesus has already come. He has already defeated death, He has already won. And yet, we will not experience it in all its fullness until he comes again, or until we are released from our earthly shells. We already have every blessing that is given to us in Christ. And we wait in hopeful advent expectation for the day when we will see it fully realized. As the carol says, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," so too do we cry, "Come, Lord Jesus."
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