In keeping with my desire to properly frame Christmas for my daughter, I asked her last night what we should get Jesus for His birthday. I’m trying to teach her that Christmas is not about getting presents. Christmas is about giving, sacrificially, the way that Jesus gave. So I asked her what Jesus might want, and she responded:
“Gold. And Frankenstein. And…um…a tree? Does he need a tree?”
I mean, seriously. What in the world made us laugh before we had children? I loved her response, not just because it was funny, but because it shows me that she’s learning the story. And that’s the thing I’m desperate for – that she’ll learn the story.
Tonight, she wandered into the living room, AWOL from bedtime, and snuggled up next to me on the couch. I’ve had one of those days on the heels of several more like it where you stay too busy to stop and pray and read and commune, and I was feeling it in my bones. I needed to be still, so that’s what I was doing. She asked me about the book on my lap, and I tried to explain that I was reading and praying and spending time with God. I told her that people can do that alone, or they can do it as a family, the way that we had earlier tonight when we read the Christmas story and talked (some more) about what Jesus might want for His birthday. She asked if we could pray together. Delighted, I began. I prayed for every family member I could think of, thanked Him for our morning, our night and everything in between, and I prayed that we would celebrate Jesus’ birthday in a way that pleases Him. The whole time I was conscious of how I was praying, thinking about the hefty responsibility I have as her mother – the responsibility of teaching her how to pray. Then it was her turn.
“Dear God, I hope you have a good birthday. I hope you get lots of good presents. And that you get everything you want. So. Happy birthday! I love you very much!”
And now, here it is, the answer to this question that I was sure I already knew the answer to. I’ve been quizzing her all week, trying to teach her what it is that Jesus wants for His birthday, and in seven words, she nails it: and that you get everything you want.
He wants what He came here for: the world saved. His kingdom come. I look down and think: that’s a tall order for these two hands. But it’s not for the hands that flung the stars into the heavens. My five year-old knows it’s possible. Her hands are tinier than mine. Still she believes.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
I hope you have a good birthday.
hallowed be Thy name.
I hope you get lots of good presents.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
And that you get everything you want.
on Earth as it is in heaven.