Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pray, Love: Finding Jesus

It was just after midnight and I was almost in bed when I heard Lily crying for her Baby Jesus. Lily names her babies after very important people in her life. We have babies named after her daddy, her great-uncle and her cousin. We have a baby bearing her first name, Lily and one bearing her middle name, Anna; not surprisingly, those are her prettiest babies. We also have a Baby Jonah and a doll who alternates between the names Doll and Jacy. The father to all these babies is a brown bear named Coco. For the record, there is no baby named Alison. Baby Jesus, however, has been a major player since her first birthday, when he simply went by the name "Da-Da".

It only took me a second to remember the last place I saw Baby Jesus. He was in the backyard, on the trampoline, next to her favorite pair of shoes. I put on my shoes, walked to the back door and flipped on the porch light. Nothing. The light was out. It is worth noting that Doug called me at work a few weeks ago to inform me that, during a sprinkler head repair, four (4!) snakes had been found in our backyard. I was so not excited about the trip to the trampoline, but my poor child was crying for her one and only Baby Jesus and I really wanted some sleep. I stood at the door, peered out at the trampoline and decided to make a run for it. Since I was a kid, I have had a theory that I don't let a lot of people in on; if you are running through a field of snakes, a high-knee sprint makes you practically invincible. On my trip out to the trampoline I nearly busted my chin with my right knee, but I am completely free of snake bites tonight. Baby Jesus was damp and cold, but Lily fell asleep the moment she curled up next to him.

I should not be surprised that my child can not keep up with her beloved babies. I had a similar problem. I was 5 years old when the Cabbage Patch dolls were a must-have item. By must-have, I mean that people were rioting in toy stores and waiting lists were put in place to control the crazy mommy mobs. My mom wanted me to have a Cabbage Patch Kid, so she went to great lengths to make sure I had one. It still had the "new smell" the day I took it outside to play (as any mother would) and ditched it in the backyard. The phone rang at our house and a kind neighbor on the next street over was calling to let us know her dog was using a Cabbage Patch Kid as a chew toy. I still have the doll. One of her arms is still hanging on by a single stitch, she has tooth marks on her eyes and some hair is missing. I wouldn't call her a collector's item by any means.

Should finding Baby Jesus on the trampoline at midnight really come as a surprise to me?

Because I tend to sit and think and procrastinate at bedtime, I could not help but think about the love of a parent. We love to give our children the things that make them happy. We will do almost anything for them, including running high-knee sprints through the backyard at midnight or going into a toy store war zone just to make sure they have a special toy. As I thought about this love, a scripture I have read my entire life took on a whole new meaning.

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11 Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Luke 11:9-13
The love we have for our children bigger than we can imagine, but it pales in comparison to the love God has for each of us. We should ask, seek and knock with this in mind, knowing that God's love is greater than anything we could ever imagine. Our heavenly Father wants to give us the greatest gifts, gifts that are far beyond trinkets to make us happy. He wants to give us the gifts that bring us joy, peace and eternal life. Ask. Seek. Knock.  

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