There he is in all his plaster glory. Our strange Little Baby Jesus from our Nativity set. Try to overlook the fact that his “blankie” doesn’t really cover up his anatomically incorrect body and that he has blonde hair and blue eyes. Every year I say I’m going to get a brown marker and color his hair and eyes the correct shade of middle eastern Jewish. And every year I haul off and do nothing.
Over the years, not one thing about Christmas has stirred more
screaming fits of passion in my kids than our Little Baby Jesus (LBJ for short). Let’s break it down, shall we?
First we have the screaming over just who gets to put LBJ in the manger fresh out of the styrofoam box. And the absolute worst thing I could ever say was, “Just take turns.” Because I obviously forgot that if you’re the second one putting LBJ in the manger, it has lost all meaning and will result in tears, red faces and generally bad attitudes. For some reason, the kids have thought it was my responsibility to remember who placed LBJ in the manger first the year before. Yeah, the woman who has to have a huge calendar displayed on the refrigerator so I can remind myself what I have coming up that day is going to remember who got firsties last year.
Second we have the “oh no you di’int” when one child decided the manger is in the wrong part of the Nativity. I get chills just thinking about the yelling and crying that has caused over the years. Of course my reasoning of, “Does it really matter where the manger is on top of the end table” never put my kids into the logical state of mind I hoped it would.
I saved the worst for last. The horror of one child purposely hiding LBJ and proclaiming that he will not make his appearance until Christmas morning. Oh, the smugness. The self-satisfied eye glilmmer. The triumphant spirit of “ain’t no one gonna tell me I can’t move/touch LBJ.” Resulting in gasps from the other child. The inevitable, “Moooooooooooooooooooooooom!!” The threats of what the sucker would do to the hider of LBJ if he wasn’t returned now. And this would be where I used to go postal. Let’s just say about 30 seconds into my postal breakdown, LBJ would be returned by the offending child.
I was in my small group this week and someone remarked that sometimes our simplest Christmas traditions will be the ones our kids will remember the best. All I could think was, “Will my kids ever look back at the Passion of the Little Baby Jesus with fondness?” I’ll admit, I dont think I’m there yet. Thankfully the kids are 14 and almost 12 this year and there has been no fighting this year over LBJ. He just lays there in his manger undisturbed.
But I am thankful. Thankful that the kids were fighting over Jesus. Thankful that even though their little kid passions got in the way, they know the real meaning of Christmas. It isn’t having a Christmas list 75 items long. It isn’t shopping every day for six weeks. It isn’t even our Christmas tree. The focus of Christmas for us is Jesus.
This year Austin didn’t want to help Amber set up the Nativity set. She set it up all by herself and made sure every shepherd, goat, wiseman was looking straight at Jesus. That’s something I’ll remember forever.