I can hear it now.
Cries of "Heretic!" "Abomination!" "What are you thinking?"
Now that is a really good question!
Maybe I'm not thinking. Or, maybe I am.
Confession: I have always struggled with connecting with the baby in a manger. Not that I don't love the image.
It does make an inspiring sight, sitting high on a shelf over my TV where I can't miss it.
Living nativities? Gotta see 'em.
A spotlighted creche in someone's front yard? Infinitely preferred over Santa and his reindeer.
And a deeper confession? I own like, six nativity sets!
So, what is my "problem" with the baby Jesus?
Jesus is not a baby anymore!
When our kids were here last weekend, I found myself doing the thing Mom's always do...watching them and adoring them and thinking how they are the absolute coolest kids ever.
I love spending time with them. Listening to their hearts. Sharing in their life stories...their dreams, struggles, hopes.
It was while I was sitting there all gaga-eyed that it dawned on me...an epiphany moment...
I love them for who they are now. For our relationship now.
On their birthdays I don't take out the old photos of them as newborns and lay them all over the tables, and put them up on shelves, and think, "I am so glad they were born. This is how I want to remember them."
Yes, I am thankful beyond words that God gave them to us. That they entered into our world. It was a wonderful, messy, painful time.
But every year, when their birthdays roll around, I celebrate them for who they are. Now.
I delight in who they have become. And the precious relationship we have.
And that's when I decided I need to move beyond holding Jesus hostage in a manger.
I can be thankful with all my heart that He came as Immanuel into our dark world.
The manger scene can remind me of this. For I am truly, truly grateful, with all my heart for the immeasurable gift of a Savior.
Maybe you don't have this problem. Maybe it's just me.
Maybe I'm finally growing up and getting it right.
Maybe this year I'll glance at the manger with a full heart. And then move on.
To who He is now. And worship Him as He is now. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
I need to spend less time reflecting on the past, and more time in His Presence.
So, maybe I really don't want to do away with the baby Jesus.
I just need to move on.