A couple evenings ago, our little family of three was all gathered together under a tiny makeshift blanket-tent, totally jam-packed in a dark corner of our living room.
Lindsey and I were cramped and contorted into positions you usually only see in an intense game of “Twister,” while the little munchkin was sprawled out luxuriously on top of us — she even had enough room to whack us periodically with her little walking stick!
(I definitely should’ve chosen a better spot to pitch the “tent”…)
Aside from the mild discomfort, however, the whole scene was absolutely perfect! The world outside was snowy and cold, but we were nice and cozy in our house — and everything was dimly lit by the soft glow of our Christmas lights.
And there we were, pretending to be shepherds (hence the tent and walking stick), keeping watch over our flocks by night, as I told our little curly-haired wild child about the first Christmas nearly 2,000 years ago.
She loved the part about Mary riding a donkey to Bethlehem, and she kept telling us (using 1- or 2-word sentences) about the time she “rode” a horse with Lynn and Heidi. And we had the darnedest time trying to get her to stop “baa-ing” when I told her that they laid the baby Jesus in a manger, kinda like the one I made to feed our goats.
All in all, we were having a grand old time!
But I was afraid I might have lost her attention altogether when we finally got around to talking about the shepherds. Partly because the story was nearing the 3-minute mark (which is really pushing the limits of her attention span) — and also because she had slipped into the “thousand-yard stare.”
Y’know the one I’m talking about, right?
She was just staring off into the distance with a blank look on her face — and I wasn’t sure if she was about to fall asleep… or maybe start laughing… or maybe start crying… Heck, she could’ve just been filling her diaper for all I know!
At any rate, I figured it was time to wrap things up, so I finished the story by telling her about how the shepherds left their tents and left their animals to go search for the baby Jesus.
And then I told her that WE need to do our best every day to leave our tent and leave our animals to seek Jesus too.
I honestly didn’t know if she was paying attention or not, but I have to admit, I felt so profound, applying the scriptures like that.
Apparently she was listening though — because the minute I finished talking, she kinda jerked out of her little trance, gave me a big blue-eyed smile, and announced:
“I’ll find ‘im!”
Then she jumped up, grabbed her little walking stick, squeezed past me, and ran out into the middle of the living room — and there she stood, pointing at our picture of the Savior, shouting:
“It’s JESUS… I FIND HIM… I FIND HIM!”
I tell ya, that little girl. Cracks. Me. Up.
The whole thing just warmed my heart and brought a big old smile to my face, and I hope it’s done the same for you.
It sure was a great way to kick off the Christmas season!