I love the bombardment of this season's cheery props—Advent wreaths and Christmas trees and chimney stockings and of course there's that guy about whom, after all this time, kids still wonder, "Is he real?"
You know, Jesus.
I remember, as a child, staring at the Nativity scene. That baby looked so snuggled in, usually on a bed of hay. All I could muster was, "That's gotta itch."
Adults would gush about the little guy, "Isn't he marvelous? Don't we love him?"
I was not a child who adored babies. I remember playing the part of Mary in the Christmas pageant when Brian Strouth was Joseph. I gritted my teeth through the whole narration, thinking, Try to hold my hand, Strouth, and I'll clobber you with this baby doll.
After the school program, we watched an animated video about the 1897 New York Sun editorial, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." I found the letter fascinating. The editorial writer, Francis Pharcellus Church, said that children who didn't believe in Santa had been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age.
1897? You ain't seen nothing yet, Francis.
I'd heard all my life about the controversy surrounding Christmas. A contaminated season thanks to too much commercialism! The entire holiday laden with stress and worry!
I could relate. Even as a child, I worried, worried, worried. I was scared a lot of the time. And I doubted that some baby in a manger could help.
I was a little older when I really brought these troubles to the Lord. I started with Luke's Christmas story, then began flipping backwards through the Bible. Back before Jonah, before Moses, before Noah.