In the early years of the blog, Gigi wrote a great deal. She’s a fantastic writer, but that’s only part of her story. Mama, sign language interpreter, teacher, uber-crafty, and she’s one of those people who can literally do whatever she puts her mind to. In addition to being a great friend.
My daughter has a plastic nativity set.
This morning we were playing with it and I told her the story of the birth of Jesus. The main story, with the central characters: Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the donkey. Shepherds and some sheep. A couple of angels and a palm tree (The tree didn’t really have a part in the story. It’s just part of Lilli’s set). The wise men and a camel.
I put a sheep next to the hay filled manger to eat. “That’s not right! That’s where the baby goes.” “Well, the baby isn’t born yet. It really IS where the animals eat. Mary put baby Jesus there because she didn’t have another bed.”
(My brain starts spinning…Ew. That couldn’t have been comfortable. I hope they used hand sanitizer, at least. All the petting zoos have a hand cleaning station. But you aren’t supposed to use hand sanitizer on little babies. Plus I have heard soap and water is best. They didn’t even have running water! Aren’t you supposed to boil water when a lady has a baby? And the smell….Oh-make it stop!)
Back to the story:
After the wise men brought their gifts, all the characters were in their places.
“Tell me more stories.”
Lilli wanted more. That’s a request I could not refuse. I grabbed my iPad and opened my online Bible and started reading to her from Luke. We read about Old Elizabeth and Questioning Zachariah and Jumping John. “I hope an angel doesn’t turn my voice off.” (hmm… Sometimes I wish I had that power…) We read about jealous king Herod. Mean king Herod. A very powerful king Herod.
Do you ever read a familiar scripture and see something new?
It happens to me from time to time… And it happened when I read that Herod ordered all the baby boys to be killed. All of them two years old or younger. Little baby boys… Who had just started their lives. Little baby boys who were their daddy’s pride and their mommy’s heart. I had always thought about it from Herod’s perspective- this cruel command was a way to protect his throne. As if he could protect himself from the work of the Almighty. As if Jesus even wanted Herod’s political title of king.
John 15:13 says “The greatest love a person can show is to die for his friends.” The MSG
These baby boys were the first to die for Jesus.
I can’t really get that out of my mind. I don’t have a good close. I don’t have a way to wrap this up with a scripture and a bow and a ta-da! I am still chewing on the unspeakable cruelty. On the irony of God sending his Son and so many other sons dying because of it. On the loss these parents felt because of the jealousy of one king… and could they have even understood it was Jesus?
Oh, the way God gives and takes.
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.