Monday, December 24, 2007

Bedtime Story Narrative

It's Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas, everyone.

This is Micah writing tonight, if you're wondering.

I was granted the task of putting Isaiah to bed tonight. I didn't think much of it, until I lay down and realized that I had been given the chance to put the exclamation mark on Christmas bedtime-story season. I retrieved his toddler-bible from his night stand, and turned to the beginning of the toddler-new-testament, and read the story of Christ's birth in a way I hoped he could understand one more time. What a priviledge.

After the story was over, I closed the book, and looked at Isaiah. He smiled. I smiled back. Then, I explained in as basic terms I could what am amazing story this is. I told him that God loved us -- Mommy, Daddy, Isaiah, Naomi -- SO MUCH that he sent Jesus to be born in a manger, just like the story said. Then, I explained how, in the morning, he would wake up and open gifts Mommy and Daddy had gotten for him ONLY because God had given us such a gift as Jesus, and that the gift we've been given is the reason we love Jesus back. Then, I said, "Merry Christmas, Isaiah." He replied, in a way he never has before, "Merry Christmas, Daddy."

Now, I'm not an emotional or over-dramatic man, but I was shaken by that simple little conversation with my son in his bed. Isaiah is three years old. His concept of Jesus takes the form of what we've told him. He knows that Jesus was a gift, and that if we love Jesus, that he can live in his heart. One could say that he doesn't understand. But I also think that Isaiah's comprehension of God's love and perfection and sacrifice and grace is comparable to mine, since I'm not sure how well I can really understand it. At least I'm not sure how much it makes sense.

But I do believe it. There is no more dramatic story than the story of God, the creator of the universe and author of our lives, looking at mankind as the worst investment perhaps there ever was, then responding with the greatest investment one can imagine. In some ways, it's a complicated story, and one I continue to attempt to unpack. In other ways, it's simple. Thank God for that.

Friends, we find ourselves in an amazing story. We are so thankful for a season dedicated to one of its watershed events. Just like my prayer for Isaiah, I pray that we can all find some way to understand the dramatic depth of the words "Merry Christmas". IF WE DO, I believe that God's love and grace will become real to us in a way that will change our lives, if they haven't already.

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