We bundled up the kids last week and took them to a live nativity. It was cold, as we knew it would be. However, the lines were longer than we anticipated. Much longer. Just to get to the hay ride to drive up to the nativity was an hour wait.
We arrived at the nativity just as the sun was going down and I could tell we would be in for a long night as I saw the line leading to the top of the hill where the barns were. Our kids waited patiently as we walked past the camels, the Roman soldiers, and the cow that was feeding on grass in a pen.
Then the whining started. “Daddy, I’m cold.” “Will you hold me?” “My legs hurt.” And more. My wife and I seriously considered leaving before we got to walk through the “Bethlehem barn” or see the manger scene.
We decided to tough it out and once we got into the barn we didn’t spend any time observing, we just shot past everyone and came out the other side to wait in another line.
More complaining. More whining. Even colder now.
After another fifteen minutes of waiting we arrived at the last barn wherein they depicted the manger scene. Mary and Joseph where sitting down, with baby Jesus in his mother’s arms. The baby was miraculously asleep which created a most sacred and peaceful setting. Not wanting to stay too long in anticipation of more lines and dropping temperatures, we corralled our children and told them we were going to get some hot chocolate outside.
Our three-year-old Asia didn’t want to go. “I wa see mo baby Geezus” (I want to see more baby Jesus).
For the first time in an hour, she was not complaining. She was not cold. Her legs didn’t hurt. She did not want to be held. She wanted to behold. There was a very tangible spirit in that dimly lit barn that even a three year old could recognize. The Spirit of Christmas was communicating with her spirit. The Spirit of Christmas is Christ – and Asia was soaking it all in.
Often parents worry too much about teaching their kids ‘all they need to know’. Perhaps our true focus shouldn’t be teaching our children, but learning from them. I learned a priceless lesson from my daughter Asia this Christmas. I don’t need to worry about teaching her the true meaning of it all, she can feel it. There are other forces from on high, much more qualified, who are touching her heart.
The camels, the soldiers, the farm animals, and lights – none of those grabbed her attention more than a babe in the manger did. Don’t teach your children about Christmas this year, stand back and let them teach you.