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Faithful Living: A baby is the greatest gift
The kids leaned forward in curiosity as my husband Matt set out various skulls and taxidermied animals. Each specimen set off a flurry of fourth grade thinking and stories filled the room.
“When my dad came home from deployment, he brought my mom a fur coat!” one child announced.
“Our dog picked up something dead on the beach,” another child commented, “and it gave him stinky breath!”
“OK, everyone,” my husband quickly interjected, hoping to bring the focus back to the reason for his visit. “Let’s phrase our comments in the form of questions about what you see on the table.”
And so began the presentation by this biologist, who enjoys introducing kids to skins and skulls because they reveal fascinating facts about the wildlife residing here on Whidbey Island.
But this was no ordinary presentation, for one student, listening intently to the conversations around her, was born with impaired vision. And it was a stuffed owl that caused her to wiggle with excitement. “I hear owls in the backyard at night!” she reported.
Realizing she could not enjoy the bird’s beauty in the same way her classmates were, Matt picked up the owl and crouched down in front of her. “Give it a good feel,” he encouraged her.
Out stretched her little hands, but it was his face she reached for first. Starting at his forehead and working down the bridge of his nose, she moved. When she got to his beard, she pulled away and giggled.
“You can’t hurt the beard either,” he assured her.
As her classmates looked on, a huge smile filled her face as she gently touched the owl’s feathers. “I see it!” she exclaimed.
Seeing it is part of the Christmas story as well. Only the players are three men of great wealth, who lived far from one another but all of whom possessed great knowledge of ancient prophesy and a love of star gazing. Seeing that star posed them for action.
They did not simply look and admire this star’s sudden appearance. They consulted their ancient texts. Eventually, they bid their families goodbye, loaded up their camels, and took to the high road in search of the king whose birth was announced by that star.
Today Christians believe that God chose to enter our world as a baby -- not an orator, politician, scholar or warrior. We gift children with surprises, sing in choirs, and read the account of Christ’s birth in the Bible’s book of Luke in celebration. But for each one of us who choose to believe, there was a moment of doubt when we first learned of the story. We contemplated, questioned, tested and wondered, just like the Wise men. Only by seeing God at work can we now see it.
The choice to see the baby as God’s greatest gift is what makes Christmas new all over again. Christ gives legitimacy to this holiday, adding hope when things seem bleak and leads us like that great star, all year long.
Reach Joan Bay Klope, firstname.lastname@example.org.