Something about the Christmas story is so relevant to children. Maybe it is the idea that Jesus was once a baby, just like us. Perhaps it is the story of a Mama and Papa who talk to angels and ride on donkeys. Or even the gifts that are brought from afar (though it is still a bit fuzzy to me why myrrh and frankincense were such a great idea.) Annike loves the story, and she was sitting on my lap during church this past Sunday when the pastor said the word "manger". She gasped with delight and said "You know that!"
That is the brilliance of the story - simple enough for a child to understand, yet deep enough for scholars to pour over.
I find myself thinking a lot about hope around Christmas time. The story of a baby born in a manger on a cold evening when Mary found shelter in a stable and the angels sang high above, is a story of great anticipation. The star of Bethlehem shone as a bright beacon in the sky and those who understood that this child would become their Savior were given Hope. Hope that God had truly not forgotten them, hope in the chance of salvation, hope in a tiny bundle of swaddling cloths lying on a manger. Jesus did not save the world on that Christmas day 2000 years ago; that was day that Hope was born.
Such a humble beginning with such a glorious finish. It gives me hope in the aspects of my life that seem insignificant. It gives me hope in a God who understands the world so much better than I do.
Annike is hoarding the animals from her Fischer Price Nativity scene which someone was clever enough to think of. She knows most of the words in the first 2 verses of "Away in a Manger", a childhood favorite of my own. In her simple childlike way, she understands the hope that was born that day in Bethlehem. As she grows, she will understand the significance of hope itself.