Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas is Over

Journal for Christa—

Untrimming the trees, taking down garland, grading the papers I’ve put off until the last few days of break…Christmas is over. And so we leave, historically, Mary and Joseph to raise the baby born in a manger in silence and unwatched. In the length and dailiness of raising children, I wonder how often they wished for an angelic visitation. Did the years grind by ever so slowly that all those incarnation events didn’t even seem real?

We, too, raise our children in much the same way. After all, Joseph and Mary were just ordinary people. It seems to take so very long, and we feel that people don’t know the work we’re putting into it. Kim asked the other day while we were Skyping if our kids were “as bad as Breck and Helen.” I kind of laughed because it just takes so long to raise kids—a lot longer than 4 to 6 years.

Even though it was long after our children were grown, in devotions one morning our principal shared something he’d read on a blog from a pastor he follows. I don’t remember at all who he said it was, but I thought at the time he’d captured the essence of childrearing clearly. Though not a direct quote, here is basically what he said:

There are two things we need to make sure we teach our children: (1) that they are not the center of the universe and (2) that you and God love them more than they could possibly imagine. 

I believe that is true, and I believe that takes a long time. Babies do come into this world thinking it should revolve around them. I also don’t think the method in how we teach them is so important. Maybe that’s what it means to “train a child in the way he should go.” The key is that they get it. The happiest, most contented people I know are those who are unselfish and know that God and others love them.

With only one brief glimpse into Jesus’ childhood, we again pick up His story after He is a grown man—at a wedding, celebrating one of life’s happiest events. The day after Christmas, our niece, Anna, posted on Facebook a picture of a shiny diamond ring embedded in a red rose.

So, as we close the Christmas story and the last few days of this year, we too look forward to the next year with weddings and joy. We look forward with hope because we know that God is the center of the universe, and He loved us so much He took on humanity to bring us salvation.

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