I love to watch our soccer coaching, Sports Center addicted, video game playing son enter the family scene at Christmas. Believe it or not, Uncle Bryan sat down on at child’s small chair at Little Stuff’s small table, and thoroughly engaged in creating Play Doh constructions with her. Nothing seemed beneath him; the two loved working together on what she considered important. Deference, an old fashioned word, has gone out of fashion, unfortunately. We can graciously defer to another out of duty or delight. Bryan delighted in time spent with his niece. How do I know?
Later the same day, as bedtime closed in on the 2 1/2/ year old, I watched Uncle Bryan crawl into Little Stuff’s big girl bed and allow her to bury him in a ton of her favorite stuffed animals. Once ensconced in the animals, he then drew and colored with her until time for prayers, songs, hugs and kisses. Each time he pretended to sleep, he heard a strong voice command, “Uncle Bryan, Uncle Bryan,” repeated multiple times. His eyes popped open and she squealed with sheer delight over the game. When the extended family can gather together, not an every year occurence, we like to play and spend time together.
Watching this scenario, I thought about the Lord and the way He condescended to do more than play with us. He came to give His called ones not just time and laughs; He came to sacrifice Himself for them. To miss the Christmas to Easter connection diminishes Christmas and allows it to degenerate into a sweet time of family togetherness and cookie giving to the neighbors and the mailman. Listen to so many of the Christmas specials and you hear the “Be nicer to people,” or “Play it forward” mantras. While a display of kindness is a plus at any time, Christmas conveys so much more. Uncle Bryan may sacrifice some time and engage in childish play, but the God of the universe stooped to take on human flesh, live a sinless life, and die in my place. Now that’s Christmas, and that’s what we celebrate!