He became dependent on someone for food, care, education…
It almost feels sacrilegious to write.
The God of the Universe… a dependent baby.
The God of the Universe… equal in every way to the Father and the Spirit did not consider equality with God something to be grasped and made himself nothing for the sake of the world.
He was a baby born to die.
And he knew this full well before becoming a seed in a woman’s womb.
The humility that is shown in the incarnation of Christ is absolutely staggering.
If I take even 5 minutes to get lost in thought over this miracle, I am dumbfounded by the sacrificial love that was shown and almost ache for the unnoticed glory of God to be recognized.
I find myself worshiping my Savior, humbled and awestruck by the gift of a Baby.
So how in the world do I bring these thoughts down to a practical level?
Better yet, how do I bring that down to a 3-year-old level?
God made flesh.
Humility. Selfless love.
This is deep stuff.
How do we convey the Nativity to our children and help them begin to grasp the incredible humility that was shown by our Lord? Here are just a few ideas that I’m trying to implement with my own kids:
1. Carefully presenting the story of Jesus’ birth. I’ve been trying to make sure I don’t make the animals in the stable a “cool” part of the story. Kids love animals. It’s tempting to make it “really neat” that Jesus was born with the animals and was laid in a manger. But then the story loses some of it’s impact. It was not cool. It was dirty. It was degrading. He deserved a palace and warm shelter and the finest of care. THIS IS GOD. He didn’t even get a bed. What a humble and selfless love that he was not only willing, but chose to be born under less than ideal circumstances. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t talk about the animals. They were probably there. But it’s easy for a kid to turn something they understand into the “fun” part of the story. I’m just trying to help my 3 year old wonder at the presence of animals, without him thinking, “Man, I wish there had been animals there when I was born…” 😉
2. Asking my son thought provoking questions. The birth of Jesus is mysterious is so many ways. The angels declare his arrival to the shepherds (who, by the way, were considered scum and on the same level as tax collectors…). Wise men bring expensive gifts fit for a king. He is honored by those to whom God reveals this miracle to (through a star and a chorus of angels).
But, by most, he goes unnoticed. No room in the inn. Laid in a manger. Visited by only a few. I’ve talked with my son about what kind of reaction Jesus deserved when he was born. I ask questions like, “Do you think Jesus deserved to be born in a palace or a barn?” Or “Did he deserve a warm bed or an animal’s food box?” Or “Did he deserve worship by lots and lots of people or just a few shepherds?” I’m trying to help cement in his mind that though the story of Jesus’ birth is interesting and even fascinating, it was not a grand way for our Savior to enter the world. It was a humble way. It was God’s way. This shows how much God loved us. That he was willing to enter the world relatively quietly with much less than he deserved. And it was only the beginning of a lifetime of sub-par reactions from the world.
3. Making sure I spend time reflecting on his incarnation a lot during the season. I have got to make the effort to saturate my mind with the wonder of the season or the world will take care of the saturation for me (and it WON’T be on Christ). In order to do this I wake up at 3am so I can spend 2 hours in the Word to get prepared (I wish!)
I have been reading Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas. It’s an advent book with 22 readings (each a few pages) to prepare my heart for Christmas. I also try to listen to cds that have some Christ-centered Christmas music during the day.
I’m doing Truth in the Tinsel with the boys (which is even helping ME to focus better on the true meaning of Christmas since I’m pausing for at least a few minutes a day to read some Scripture and focus on Jesus’ birth).
My friend and blog-partner, Jen, made these awesome Christmas verse printables that I’ve got hung around the house to help bring me back and focus on Christ when my priorities get all out of whack (and they do!).
One thing I’m becoming more and more convinced of as a Mama is that if I’m not enamored with Jesus, my little ones won’t be either. If he’s not truly what I’m really focused on this season, they’ll quickly pick up on that.
I think the most wonderful gift I can give them at Christmas is showing them how much I love Jesus.
My humble, loving, glorious Savior.
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Desiré is a stay-at-home mom to Isaac (almost 3) and Silas (1 1/2 yrs). Her website, When You Rise, equips parents to teach the Word of God to their children with passion and truth. Desiré has a Bible Theology degree from Moody Bible Institute.