Denise Day Spencer

December 23, 2006

Emmanuel

Filed under: Personal reflections — denisedayspencer @ 5:49 am

Christmas is, in many ways, a time for children. Jolly old St. Nick, red-nosed reindeer, stockings bulging with surprises–all things that make a young countenance light up with glee.

One of my favorite personal Christmas stories is about our daughter, Noel. But it’s not about the mythical aspect of the holiday. No, Noel has always been a very practical  person. This story is about the down-to-earth side of Christmas, the real Christmas, if you will.

Noel was three years old, and already had a great love of play-acting. One day she came into my bedroom carrying her favorite baby doll and wearing a cloth diaper as a head covering. “Mommy,” she directed, “You be Mary and I’ll be the angel.” She looked rather serious, and I sensed that this might be important. “O.K.” I agreed, and waited. Noel carried the doll gently, carefully, and ceremoniously laid it in my arms. “It’s the baby Jesus,” she explained, as if I had not already guessed. “Thank you,” I replied, and looked upon my new addition with the best pretend maternal love I could muster.

The small angel stood there a moment before giving me one knowing admonition: “He spits up.”

Little did she know that she had captured the heart of the gospel in three unlikely words. Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, only begotten Son of the Father, came to earth as a human. A tiny human, wrinkled and helpless, crying and hungry. Jesus, the Word made flesh, would nurse at His mother’s breast and then spit up.

I have known Him for a lifetime, and still it amazes me. I hope it amazes you, too. May you know and worship Emmanuel, God with us, this Christmas.

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