I’ve been thinking about Christmas from a different perspective lately. Though she’s only been in our lives for five quick months, Eloise’s presence has been life-changing.
Verses I’ve heard all of my life mean so much more. The idea of God as a Father has become three-dimensional. I wonder about the deep well of emotions that I have for Eloise. If I feel like this about her, does that really mean God feels that way about insignificant me? The delight I have when Eloise acquires a milestone as little as pushing herself up with her arms must equally translate to the God levelIf that’s the case, then he must feel that same immense delight when he sees EACH ONE of his millions of children developing as he planned. On the flip side, when the day comes for Eloise to first be cruel or hateful, I will be sad because I see her as a beautiful, perfect creature. I think about God carrying the weight of that type of sadness for all of us unique and individually created people when we choose to be hateful or choose our own path away from him.
Then images from Bethlehem pop into my head. The Son of God transmogrified from the celestial dimension into a grubby, murderous land. That would be far worse than if I decided to drop Eloise off in the home of known child abusers. How could God have been willing to rip himself apart like that? The only possible answer is that he so longed for the hearts of those murderous grubby people that he was willing to carry the sorrow of Jesus’ absence. And so God dropped his beloved Son off at a stable in a cold, tiny town in the middle of the night.
But the loving daddy in him couldn’t just leave it like that. He had to tell people about it. As any devoted father would do, God hired a choir and sent birth announcements to whomever in the area might listen. As it turns out, it was some shepherds and some “heathen” stargazers. They left their sheep and their telescopes and headed to visit the baby, bringing gifts. Reminds me a lot of the friends and family members who heard of Eloise’s birth and took off work and traveled to come ooh and aaah and take pictures.
So this Christmas I plan to make the effort to oooh and aaah over Jesus, take pictures. But that’s just the beginning. Many of those same people who came to ooh and aah over Eloise follow her life closely. They want updates. They want cuddles. They want to know every drooling detail. But really they want her to come home, because they love her.
There’s more to Christmas than the snapshot of a mucky stable. It’s really the on-going story of a daddy aching for each one of his kids to come home.