|"Child of Grace" by Liz Lemon Swindle|
As I watched Noah climbing all over the pew in church yesterday, revving his toy car loudly and energetically coloring on the paper program during the Sacrament, I wondered again, as I have so often this month, if Jesus was once like my little boy.
Before I became a mother, I pictured Jesus as an innocent and perfect newborn baby, sleeping peacefully in soft hay, or I pictured him as a strong and perfect man, walking the roads of Galilee with his disciples, stopping to minister to the poor and the ill and teaching sermons on hillsides. I never pictured him as a toddler, with big innocent eyes, wild hair, an infectious giggle, and endless amounts of curiosity and energy.
Did he reach for his mama with dramatic sobs when he was hurt, exhausted, or out of sorts? Did she hold him close and whisper in his ear that everything would be okay? Did she wipe sticky little hands and chase after him when he darted away and sing songs at bedtime? Did she ever feel tired and frustrated, or did her knowledge of his divinity give her perfect patience?
|"She Shall Bring Forth a Son" by Liz Lemon Swindle|
I have also spent the month thinking about Joseph, as I’ve watched Noah in the arms of his father. Did Jesus call for his daddy first thing in the morning, as my son does? Did Joseph walk the house with him when he was fussy, tickle and wrestle him when he was rowdy, and kiss him gently before bedtime?
Like my son, Jesus was raised by a man that was not his biological father—yet a man who I know loved him just as completely and as fiercely as he would have loved his own flesh and blood. As I watch Noah and Ryan together, I realize that Joseph was Jesus’ father, and that God intended it to be that way. He wanted his Only Begotten Son to be raised by a man who was good and gentle, a man who was totally committed to his mother and to him. Our Heavenly Father wanted Jesus to have a family.
|"In the Arms of Joseph" by Simon Dewey|
As Ryan and I put Noah to bed tonight, I thought about what Mary and Joseph were asked to sacrifice. Their sweet little boy would grow to be a man—and then he would take upon him the sins and pains of all mankind. He would be scourged and mocked, beaten and crucified.
I wonder if they worried about him. I wonder if they prayed for him. Did they have perfect faith that allowed them to bear the weight of his calling with total peace? Or did they sometimes want to protect him from the pain that would be necessary in order for all of us, including them, to gain salvation?
|"Silent Night" by Liz Lemon Swindle|
Picturing Jesus this way—as a vulnerable, precious little boy—makes my heart swell with gratitude and love for Him, for the man He became, for all that He did for me.
And being a mother at Christmastime makes me revere Jesus’ parents so deeply, these young parents who loved their son so much and were asked to let Him go so that we could all live.
I know that He lived on this earth. I know that He was born an innocent baby in humble circumstances. I know that He was a toddler once—a little boy who grew and learned and was taught by His mother and His earthly father, just like any other little boy. And then He chose to do the will of His Divine Father, becoming the Savior of the world and suffering incomprehensible pain for each one of us so that we could return to be with Him.
|"When Did He Know?" by Liz Lemon Swindle|
I love Him. I love this time of year where we commemorate His birth and spend just a little bit more time thinking about Him. I want to be more like Him—a more Christ-like mother to my little Noah, a more Christ-like wife to my Ryan, and a more Christ-like friend to all those whom I am fortunate to know.
Merry Christmas, Friends and Family. May the Spirit of this sweet little boy "born that man no more may die" be with you today and always.
|"The Holy Men" by Liz Lemon Swindle|
**Artwork from lizlemonswindle.com.