15 days: The blonde-headed baby
Each month, I have the honor of speaking to our church’s AWANA kids. I try to coordinate my talk with the theme of the night, but that is not always possible. Last night’s theme was “dress like a mess”. While I have spoken at women’s groups on “making your mess your message”, I didn’t feel kindergarteners through sixth graders had enough life experience to really make a go of that talk. So I did what I always do when preparing a speech (for any audience), I waited for God to spark my heart and thoughts.
About four days before AWANA, I felt that old nudge as to what my talk should be based upon. It took some coordinating, but after digging through countless Rubbermaid totes in my storage room, I found the object I needed . . . although I kept her hidden until mid-way through my allotted time last night.
Next week, the kiddos will be celebrating Jesus’ birthday; so, I opened with telling them about when I was a little girl. In some ways, I feel sorry for them because a beloved part of my Christmases growing up is completely foreign to their world. The face of every adult in the room travelled back in time when I told the kids about how my brother and I would wait and wait and WAIT some more for the Christmas catalogs to arrive. We would spend hours perusing through the wish books picking out just the gifts we hoped to receive. I heard a few chuckles when I said the Montgomery Ward catalog was always my favorite.
I told the AWANA clubbers about a Christmas when my whole view on toys changed. So unlike the world these kids live in, back in the day, brunette baby dolls were virtually non-existent. One year, my beloved MW catalog had a tiny baby doll with (Yep! You guessed it) brunette molded hair. Oh! I wanted that baby! How I wanted that baby! I wished and wished and could not wait to wake up on Christmas morning, assured she would be there waiting.
Only that is not what happened. There under the tree was another blonde-headed baby doll. I was heartbroken, and though I tried my best to love the little blonde baby, she was never going to be in the league of the Bye Lo Baby.
The baby of my dreams made another catalog appearance the following Christmas and eventually made her way into my loving arms.
I have been busy helping to direct this year’s children’s Christmas pageant at our church, and each week we have a lesson, detailing the different gifts of advent, that corresponds to a portion of our script. One week I asked my sweet kiddos to name five gifts they received last year. After a period of time, I had them list all the gifts they would like this year. Even though I could have predicted the outcome, the actual results of my experiment were startling.
Reassuring them all, I confessed that a gift I had been dreaming of for many years which still sits in the box in came in. The lust and lure of gifts are not only appealing to children with visions of sugarplums in their heads.
Unlike the baby doll I never wanted (but who grew into a nice member of my childhood pretend family), there is a baby who once came into the world who will never and who has never disappointed me. Though, I cannot say the same about myself to that baby. I have done plenty of things that have made him sad throughout my life, but his steady presence in all I do has been the best present I have ever received.
I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t pining for more this Christmas. I truly do want more: more of the peace that comes from spending time with that baby, more of the joy that comes from being content, more time to be a blessing to others, and more love to share. I realize that to get more there will need to be less: less hurried, less focus on things that don’t truly matter, and less wishing for things of this world that don’t truly satisfy.
If I can (with God’s help) do that, then I will have MORE than enough Christmas.
Author’s note: On the lighter side, I love to laugh. I can always use MORE of that in my day. I knew the subject of today’s blog a few days ago, and I always wonder how much of what I teach or speak on actually sticks with an audience. This morning, God gave the answer to that question as well as a joyful bowl of laughter. Our little Sally Gal recently was given a hamster. He is a delightful little creature whom she adores, and it appears the feeling is mutual. He rests in her hand as soon as she takes him out to play. Of course, every day she serenades him multiple times. Her little angelic voice can be heard singing all sorts of tunes and melodies. The rest of us really like “Lord Business” (named after a favorite character from the Lego movie), but he does really put an impact on our sleeping. Erin says she believes he is training for a marathon as he runs on his wheel ALL NIGHT LONG. Alternate names of “Squeaky McGoo” and “Lord Busyness” have been floated around by the big people in our house. On our trip to the college tour, we stopped by a huge pet store and invested in a whisper quiet wheel. Let’s just say we have a sad hamster today because I think the wheel is too small for him. Downtrodden and heartbroken for her buddy, Cloie told me at breakfast, “Mom, I think that new hamster wheel is his blonde-headed baby doll!” She was listening all along!