Friday, December 5, 2008

Baby Jee-su

Yesterday our girls received a nativity set just for them. The stable, Mary, Joseph (AKA-Jojo), a bale of hay, the donkey and cart (I'm not sure of the biblical accuracy of the cart...), the angel who sings “Away in the Manger” some shepherds, two sheep, and baby Jesus are all there to be strewn across the room and hidden in the couch cushions by the hands of a two-year old and a 9 month old…
To use the toy for purpose we intended, we sat down with our girls and shared the story of Jesus’ birth with them and did our best to focus Emma’s attention on the Baby Jesus. I am certain she got the point.
This morning, as any smart two year old would do, Emma immediately headed for the neatly arranged Nativity set and grabbed the Baby Jesus since she learned of his significance last night. And, as any smart younger sibling would do, Adi immediately knew she needed whatever Emma had in her hand. So, the race around the kitchen table began. A squealing baby wobblingly toddled behind Emma as she screamed, “Emma’s Baby Jee-su, Emma’s Baby Jee-su”. (FYI- Jee-su is pronounced ‘jee-’ as in “Jeep” and ‘-su’ as in “supper”)
Seeing as this all began happening within minutes of my feet hitting the floor, I wasn’t fully awake and ready to proactively parent appropriately. So, the repetitions began…
Emma, that is not YOUR Jee-su, I mean Jesus!”
“You must share the Baby Jesus.”
“Emma, you must share the toys!”
“Adi, watch where you are running…wait, stop running with the plastic spoon…”
“Emma, I said you must share Jesus.”
By this point, I was getting really frustrated because it felt as if the natives were beginning to take over…and so early in the morning. So, out of a moment of parental exasperation, the punishment was handed down.
“Emma, you are in time-out for not sharing Jee-su.”
Tears began flowing when Emma had to give up rights to her new found favorite possession, her cup and her paci for the duration of her time-out sentence. And, since my brain was slowly waking up in the midst of this chaos, I remembered the importance of repeating to the child why she was put in time out. In my pj’s, I got down to her eye level and repeated her offense.
“Emma, you are in time-out for not sharing Jesus.”
And then it hit me. I was punishing my child for not sharing the baby Jesus toy with her little sister. It rattled around in my head again like a big echo. I was punishing my child for not sharing Jesus…

Two minutes later, time-out was over. After a quick reminder to share the baby Jesus with her sister, Emma received her cup and paci back and was allowed to return to playing with the nativity. And, as if it was rehearsed, Gil and I looked up at each other and said, “I wonder what would happen if everyone had to sit in time-out for not sharing Jesus.”

There you go. Another theology lesson learned in a moment of parenting. A reminder to share Baby Jee-su, I mean Jesus, with others…even before breakfast!

What would happen if Jesus was so important to us that he was the first thing we grabbed when we jumped out of bed each morning? What would happen if he was so dear to us that we would risk punishment just so we could love him tenderly? What would happen if we learned from a young age that we must share Jesus?

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