With little ones, everything old is new again. Emily Frances is enjoying her third Christmas (her second out in the world), and I am enjoying it right along with her. Every morning she has rituals, and because our Christmas decorations are up, the rituals have changed. Every day, after grabbing her beloved Pooh in her crib, getting a dry diaper and some milk, we head down the stairs. Each morning she bursts out with one of her new words as we near the bottom of the stairs.
“TEE, TEE!” she shouts in glee. She means tree, of course. We go and turn the lights on, and she stands back in admiration speaking long strings of incomprehensible Emmy words that express her delight. She is not a physically aggressive child. She likes to reach out and touch the ornaments with the tips of her fingers, but doesn’t take them off. Her favorites are the red cardinal tucked in the branches, a small bear with a red hat that she mistakenly identifies as “Pooh”, and she likes the little church with snow that sparkles on its roof.
After admiring the tree, we go to look at the manger scene for a while. She points to the infant Jesus in the manger and says, “Baby!” We talk about the Baby Jesus then and admire the angel on the roof of the stable. There is a rose in its last stages of beauty that sits in a vase near the manger scene. Last night, I was holding her in my arms looking at the lighted manger scene when she pointed to the red rose and said, “Fow-ver.” It was the first time she had attempted the word flower. Again this morning she said it several times, so it looks like she has a new word added to her vocabulary.
One of the sweetest things is when a baby starts to sing. At this age, they mimic everything, and I sing a lot both in the car and around the house, so Emily has been attempting to sing also. I had “Silent Night” playing in the car today and I heard this small voice in the back seat making some sounds that were clearly imitating what she heard. What fun to teach her all the little songs toddlers and preschoolers learn. I started with this one that I taught to all my babies:
God made me,
God made me,
In my Bible book it says that God made me.
Then you change it to God helps me, and God loves me. I have a tape recording of baby Charlie (now 23), who was about two at the time, attempting this song. It doesn’t get sweeter than that.
Before Emily, I had moved so far from these simple things. I sometimes look back before the baby and think how lonely I must have been all day not having her. My radio work and former news and commentary blogging provided no respite from the spiritual and cultural wars in our world. Children bring you back to what really matters in your life. Somebody small needs you right this minute, and they need to know that everything is OK. That’s the blessing of little ones. They take you out of yourself, and they constantly remind you of the need to go before the Throne of Grace for help in doing the job of mother.
Every good and every perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights, Scripture says. The ultimate gift is the gift of God’s Son. The wide-eyed wonder of a baby at Christmas is a lesson in the wonder we should feel every day of our lives. That God would love us enough in our wretched sins to send His only Son to this earth to die on our behalf should amaze us. What wondrous love that was and is.
In closing this post, I will share a recording from a long time ago. It was made for my Grandma who lived up in the north woods. She has spent Christmas with Jesus for 13 years now. We weren’t able to be with her that year so we sent a recording of all of us. My sister and brother-in-law and my Dad and Mom and Charlie, 4 and Sammy, 3, sang while I played the keyboard. It isn’t great music in terms of our raggedy voices, but it’s about the love of our Savior who was born 2000 years ago. I love this recording because you can hear the little ones’ voices in there (they were standing on a box by the microphone.) They wished Grandma a special Merry Christmas at the end. The last voice is Sammy. He’s getting married on the 18th. A special Merry Christmas to you, Sammy, we love you and Laura. And Merry Christmas to all of you!