Happy Holy Days to you. May this Christmas, Hanukah, New Year’s and the many other special occasions, religious or otherwise, be a special time that brings families together.
In my house, we are adjusting to the new routine of a baby.
Born on Black Friday, our youngest child was home the next day. The older siblings had been through the routine before, but as our younger kids welcomed the new baby, they were curious about her.
They wanted to touch her, pick her up, and be near her as much as possible.
They were fascinated that mommy’s belly was gone and that this new member of the family was so little. Fortunately, none of them tried to play with her like a doll. They would quickly be reminded to take a step back if they got “too” close.
As our 8th child, the wonder and awe we experience in her presence is as exciting as the first child. Despite our familiarity with the process, there were still many new things about her. She was unique in so many ways—we tried to judge which sibling she most resembled and concluded that she was in a category all to herself.
At Christmas time, our church celebrates the story of a young baby born into this world. The parents don’t go home the next day—in fact, with what little we know about the story, our understanding is that it was difficult for them to find anyplace to accommodate them.
What we do know is that there is a fascination about this baby. There are people who come to visit this child for the purpose of being in his presence. To be near the baby that will fulfill so many hopes and expectations of the people, even though that fulfillment will happen in much different ways than the people expected.
It’s an important story for us to hear, year after year. To me, and it’s literally my job to tell the story, it NEVER gets old. I find new treasures from reading it every time. The story shouldn’t become routine, even if we follow many of the same patterns and traditions as in years past. The story is what brings us as families, as friends, as co-workers, as churches, together.
It’s a story about being present for Jesus. It’s a story about being present for each other. Be present for your family (this might mean putting the phone down, intentionally, for some intervals of time). Be present with your neighbors or friends. Be present with the stranger you meet at the store. Be present with your relationship with God.
Be present and you will see that the mundane and ordinary is actually quite extraordinary and beautiful. If we were all more present with each other, I know that our priorities about what’s truly important in our lives would change as well.