Just three days before the big Christmas holiday, it seems as though most of the people around me are at the climax of the preparation frenzy. Shopping, baking, wrapping gifts, preparing food for the incoming relatives, last minute decorating. It'll all get done, and I won't worry about it if it doesn't.
Earlier this week I received the wonderful gift of laughter, generated by a little video someone had shared on Facebook. Perhaps you, too, have seen it. Surely it has gone viral by now.
It was a clip of a children's Christmas program, specifically a nativity scene. All the participants were roughly between the ages of two to six, so I have no doubt the director had her hands full getting those kiddos to cooperate and do what she wanted them to do.
On stage right a large chorus of children was serenely singing a classic Christmas carol, perhaps it was "Away in a Manger." All was well over on that part of the stage, and the kids looked and sounded nearly angelic.
Over on stage left was the manger scene and its cast of characters. There was Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus sleeping in the manger. A couple of wise men with bath towels on their heads and scratchy beards fidgeted in the back, and a donkey and sheep were clustered there near the manger, too.
All was well for a verse or two until one of the little characters there in the stable, the 2-3 year old girl in the fuzzy white sheep suit, got bored. She was done playing by the rules from that point on.
She crossed stage left and grabbed the baby(doll) Jesus out of his bed. For a while she stood there, rocking him lovingly in her arms along with the rhythm of the music. It was sweet.
Until she had enough of that.
She began gyrating her hips a little bit more, swinging baby Jesus in time to the music. Mary was beginning to look concerned.
Next, the little sheep began bogeying all around her area of the stage.
Then she grabbed Jesus by the ankles and whipped him around in front of her in large figure eight shapes.
By this time, four-year-old Mary was alarmed. It was time to retrieve and protect her baby.
Heading over to the little sheep girl, Mary grabbed for her baby. An unsuccessful tug of war ensued.
Finally Mary authoritatively threw her arm around the neck of the sheep girl and took her business down to the floor. It looked remarkably like a rear naked choke hold, so common in jujitsu sparring.
That baby's life was at stake, and it called for desperate measures.
Joseph walked over to the scene of the fight, looked down at it, and stepped back. He wasn't gonna get entangled in that mess. Not even for Jesus.
At this point the camera panned to a referee mother coming from the audience and up the steps to the stage to rectify the situation. End of video.
Honestly I've watched that video several times, and I'm just so thankful for the wonderful laughs it has given me.
And then, I kept thinking about it over the last few days since I first saw it.
What if we all were so deliberate about having Jesus?
What if we were all that determined to hold him, to spend time with Him, to love Him?
What if we wanted Him so much we would fight for Him - fight our schedules, our distractions, our hobby and leisure time - fight it all just to be with Him?
This Christmas my wish for you is that you'll have Jesus. Look for Him, find Him, spend time with Him. Love Him and celebrate His presence. That's the best GIFT I can wish for you, and I do so with all my heart.
Merry Christmas, friends!