This time two years ago I was waiting: waiting for Christmas, waiting for the holidays and waiting for my baby to make an appearance.
I remember thinking that I had about a month to enjoy a bit of a rest, have fun over Christmas with family and friends and then within a couple of weeks my life would be turned upside down by the arrival of a laidback, beautiful (I am biased!) baby girl. I had seen the scans, I had heard the heartbeat, I could feel the kicks and I could no longer see my feet…I knew this baby was coming!
Waiting for a baby
Expecting a baby around this time of the year made me think about what it must have been like for Mary. She had a completely different experience to me. She was younger, she found out she was pregnant from the visit of an angel (that definitely didn’t happen to me!) and she had to travel to another city by foot to have her baby. She wouldn’t have seen scans or heard heartbeats but no doubt she had felt the kicks and I imagine she could not see her feet at the end either!
"But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary;
you have found favour with God.
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever;
his kingdom will never end.”
This Christmas, two years later, will be different. Bess is aware of Christmas and has helped decorate the tree, the lights being turned on every morning is quite an event and she knows that Santa might bring her a present. But for me, there needs to be more to both mine and her Christmas. I want her to experience the lights, music, fun and sparkle of Christmas, but I mostly want her to know that this is when we celebrate the arrival of not just any baby, but the Saviour of the world.
As the Jesus Storybook Bible describes it,
“And there, in the stable, amongst the chickens and the donkeys and the cows,
in the quiet of the night, God gave the world his wonderful gift.
The baby that would change the world was born.
His baby Son… Mary and Joseph named him Jesus, ‘Emmanuel’ –
which means ‘God has come to live with us’.
Because of course, he had.”
There are lots of resources out there to help engage children with the real story and meaning of Christmas. Below are just a few that might help over this busy and exciting time of the year:
The Characters of Christmas https://www.thegoodbook.co.uk/the-characters-of-christmas-storybook
Song of the Stars https://www.sallylloyd-jones.com/books/song-of-the-stars/
The Littlest Watchman https://www.thegoodbook.co.uk/the-littlest-watchman
If I were in charge of Christmas https://www.10ofthose.com/products/23013/if-i-were-in-charge
Boring Bible: Crackers Christmas http://www.eden.co.uk/shop/boring_bible__christmas_crackers
I hope that this Christmas – both in your own family, whatever it looks like, and in your church family, you enjoy the sparkle, the lights, the music, and the magic of Christmas. It is such a special time of the year, a time to share with family and friends both near and far away.
However, I hope you also have time to help the children (and adults) around you to remember the real reason for the celebration. I hope you have time to pause and reflect on the baby who is at the centre of the story, but who is so often lost to the side somewhere. Make it your plan this Christmas to worship in awe at the miracle of the baby born at Christmas. Reflect in wonder that the God who created the universe and measured the oceans in His hands also sent His precious Son to earth as a vulnerable baby to be the Saviour of the world.
The journey that had begun so many centuries before had led …
to the king God had promised David all those years before.
But this child was a new kind of King.
Though He was the Prince of Heaven, He had become poor.
Though He was the Mighty God, He had become a helpless baby.
This King hadn’t come to be the boss. HE had come to be a servant.
And by the way, all the waiting was completely worth it.
Ruth Bromley is PCI’s Children’s Development Officer.