Monday, December 19, 2011

What Child is This?

This question echoes in our home on a regular basis.

What child is this that left the bathroom towels on the floor?  Again.

What child is this that chose not to eat breakfast and is now really hungry?

What child is this that forgot to bring home their notebook to work on?

What child is this that didn't nap and is now moaning on the kitchen floor?

What child is this that is standing at the top of the stairs needing a drink of water?

What child is this that has a death grip on my leg and is wiping her nose on my pants?

What child is this who is dawdling along on the way to the van ... without shoes?

That would be my child.

Do you think Mary every asked those questions about Jesus?  Do you think she ever said, "What Child is this who won't go to sleep?"

In spite of the sweetness of this Christmas carol, I would venture to say, "Yes."

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
(Words by William C. Dix)

Here in this carol we have a serene picture of that first Noel.  Baby Jesus fast asleep, snuggled on His mother's lap.  Angels are singing a lullaby of praise and the shepherds are standing guard around the holy family.  It's a humble birthplace with an audience of livestock, but from here this baby will go on to be the Sacrificial Lamb for all people.  He is worthy of great worship and deserving of the gifts and adoration of kings and peasants.  He sleeps on through the celebration of His birth, soothed by the soft humming of his mom.  A beautiful snapshot of this newborn Babe.

But there is no evidence in Scripture that Jesus was a cry-free, tantrum-free, fussy-free kid.  He was a regular Boy who just happened to have a future as, "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6b)  I would have to believe that as Jesus grew, He was a handful in His own way.  Here is one example of a parenting trial, found in Luke 2.

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
   49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”[f] 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:41-52)

Kind of makes the times when my kids hide in the clothing racks at Target not seem so bad.  

This short passage of Scripture strikes a chord with me me.  It's a small peek into Jesus' family that reminds me of their humanness - two regular people trying to raise a Son.  It is also a validation of the huge and sometimes daunting task it is to raise a child - complete with celebrations and frustrations.  I also can identify with Mary a bit -  neither of us can grasp what God has in store for our children.  And I feel for Mary as she raises the Son of God - no pressure there!

In these few words, I witness Mary train up her Son in the same way, with the same challenges and frustrations, as we moms do today.  And that brings me encouragement.  Because as I've said before, this mothering gig is a doozy!

As I go about raising my kids, I am humbled by the task at hand.  I am charged with not just making sure they are fed and helping them learn to read, I also entrusted with the careful shaping of their personalities and the training up of their hearts.  

I want to make sure that they not only know their multiplication tables, but also how to use their manners at the kitchen table.  

I want to make sure that they play well with others and can also play by the rules.  

I want to make sure that they love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength also that they love the people around them.

I want them to be quick to get their shoes on and get in the van and I also want them to be quick to love and follow Jesus. ("Haste, haste" ... maybe I'll try that instead of "Chop-chop!")

And I want to say, "What child is this who loves Jesus and is hidden in His Word?"

"That's my kid."


Christmas Play Update:  The kids did great!  We only skipped over one song and our angel only almost fell off his perch once.  Success! Lots of families came and we enjoyed lots of good soups and salads afterwards.  A great kick-off to this final countdown to Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. I love this blog!! Great parallel between the your own family and Jesus'. I have often thought of what Jesus was like. I bet he cried when he was hungry, etc.

    How do you get so many people to read your blog or join it? I is because you write such great ideas and thoughts.

    Hey, I heard back from MOPS International...they are interested in my article. I don't know if they will publish it. Any thoughts?

    Also, how do you get more people to join or read your blog? Just curious.


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