I figure that they might mean little sweeties like my darling niece, Nina. She'll be 2 before we know it and this will be her second experience Christmas coming up.
I wonder what she will love about this one? What will she remember of Christmas time 2012...that she unwrapped a zillion different parcels all shiny & bright just for her & ate too many strawberries & sat on a dozen different knees? I wonder?I wonder too, if we all scrunched up our eyes & squinted really hard & imagined, just for a moment, how Christmas might look through the innocent eyes of a brand new, untarnished child? A child who hasn't the foggiest idea what disappointment means or who Father Christmas actually is. And when that child hears the true Christmas story for the very first time, maybe, something wondrous just might happen..the magic of Christmas might even come alive & seed hope in to our very hearts. A brand new hope, like little Misha found in my favourite Christmas story ever, called "Two Babies in a Manger" from Chicken Soup for the Soul.
I am joining in with my dear friend Karen & other lovely souls at Pom Pom's Ponderings as we journey through the weeks leading to Christmas day & share thoughts on a "Child-like Christmas". I shared this story last year & I have just read it once more for my dear Phone News friends (a local phone new service for the blind) & I will go on reading & sharing it every year for the rest of my days..I just know it! Maybe you have someone that you might like to share it with too.
Two Babies in a Manger
In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments, and a large orphanage. About one hundred boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. They relate the following story in their own words:
It was nearing the holiday season, 1994. Time for our orphans to hear for the first time, the traditional story of Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude mangerEach child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city. Following the instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady threw away as she left Russia, were used for the baby's blankets. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States. The orphans were busy assembling their mangers as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about six years old and had finished his project.As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young child, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings very accurately, until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, 'If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?'"And Jesus told me, 'If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me.' So I got in the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me that I could stay with him—for always."As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him—FOR ALWAYS.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38, 39