The fa-la-la-la-la and Christmas magic are being put back into attics, sealed up for another 11-month sleep as a new year is unwrapping. There’s so much coming in this new year. I believe 2013 is a game-changer in the Kingdom of God. But before the stroke of midnight, and hopefully a thousand times after, I want to unwrap and to reopen, Christmas magic.
After three years, this was my first Christmas morning with Lifa. He’s never had a “Christmas morning” the way that I know Christmas morning… there have never been gifts, music, special breakfasts, a tree, or a manger story. He didn’t even know he was supposed to wake up at 5am and pounce with glee. So I did. :)
But first, I prayed.
I needed Christmas morning to be more than wrapping paper and cinnamon rolls. Because the next day I’d drop Lifa off for an unforeseeable amount of time at his dad’s house, four hours from mine. This time is different than any of the others. And because I knew that after we played and celebrated, we’d being going to the hospital for a Christmas visit.
Two days before Christmas, I got an early morning phone call from the most broken mama-voice I’ve ever heard. Sweet Given had been burned. A plastic bag, burning in a trash pile, had found that perfect 3-year old body in the early hours of the morning. Given is ok – but has severe surface burns beginning at the left-hand fingertips and climbing up the arm. There are also some ear burns and blisters around Given’s head and face.
That day I realized that the children’s ward would be full of broken and burned babies on Christmas morning. And that Christmas magic had to reach them there - and had to be even more than Christmas morning tradition.
Vulnerable, unconditional love came in to the most unexpected circumstances and brought joy. Everlasting life meets daily life, on hospital beds, in trash piles, on the road between Lifa’s dad’s house and mine, and in the donkey’s bed (Lifa’s rendition of the manger).
Love put on a real body and entered daily life through a real body.
Love broke through oppression, sickness and filth by coming into those very things on His own birth day.
But you know what? I bet there was joyful laughing on the day that Savior-baby was cast into the filth of a manger. I can almost hear the wild thanksgiving after that final scream of pain.
He came with a body, through a body.
He came to earth all the way to reach us all the way. In the middle of scandal, chaos, rejection, vulnerability, fear, a Savior is born. And that Savior hasn’t left.
He reaches it all.
And I need that Christmas to keep going all year.
Because that Christmas can reach burned bodies, broken mothers, and faraway families.
And that Christmas can reach me. My skin and my depths. My heart and my soul. The parts that cry for my babies and the parts I can’t even reach. Christmas can reach.
Christmas isn’t for the attic.
That full-contact Christmas reaches and is eternal. It’s reaching every hospital ward, every broken heart, and every injustice.
I prayed on Christmas morning for that morning of new traditions and play with Lifa to be my frankincense and myrrh. And now on this New Year’s Eve morning, I pray to live like full-contact Christmas lives - and that my words, my thoughts, my actions and my faith be my frankincense and myrrh all year long.
Our Christmas morning...
|Lifa telling the Christmas story|
|Pure bliss every time he opened a gift... "IT'S A BOXXXX!!!"|
Our Christmas visit to hospital...
|George loved Jesus' birthday cake|
|And Khensani loved the balloons and stickers!|
|And Given started smiling again on Christmas Day|