Thursday, December 09, 2010

Clothespin Jesus

 You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father's face and tell him you have received His Christmas gift."  John R. Rice

Twenty two years ago I was a single mom trying to get myself back on the right path after an unexpected twist in life.  It was two weeks before Christmas and with the assistance of my amazing parents, Amanda and I moved into our own apartment.   Our meager den was furnished with a hand-me-down couch, TV and a small borrowed Christmas tree.  Our poor little tree made Charlie Brown’s  tree look like the one at Rockefeller Center.
Our only other Christmas decor consisted of a precious little Clothespin Jesus snuggled in a construction paper manger that Amanda had made at church.  Amanda and I proudly perched her baby Jesus on our hand-me down TV.  We thought we had arrived at the big-time!

In my attempt to teach Amanda the real meaning of Christmas, I would read the  Christmas story to her each night from The Bible.  Little did I realize at the time that an almost-two-year old could hardly comprehend the significance of this most amazing story. God coming to earth in the flesh, being born in a barn in Bethlehem. The King of Kings coming in such a humble way to do what only He could.   Each night I read to Amanda, starting in Bethlehem and going to the Cross, where Jesus gave His life for our redemption.  The crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus all in one sitting.

Nightly, I would ask my sweet little girl questions about what I had read (I was trying SO hard to be a good mommy). 

I asked “ Amanda, where does Jesus live?”. 

Night after night, she gave me nothing but a blank stare before she would turn over and go to sleep (thumb in mouth no less).

I repeated this “new” tradition for about a week hoping for her answer to be “Heaven” or even the standard Sunday School answer of “Jesus lives in my heart”.

One night when quizzing Amanda, I asked her where Jesus lived.  Much to my astonishment, she replied:

   “Ahnoo!  (translation – “I know!”)

“Where?? Where??"  I asked. 

I was thrilled and instantly filled with motherly pride.  I anticipated her answer as I knew it was another Christmas miracle and my “good mommy” award was around the corner.

“Where Amanda?  Where…where does Jesus live”, I repeated. 

She confidently replied”  “Dowwwstairs  awn TeeeVeeee"
 (translation "Downstairs on the TV!")

I was mortified!  I had thought I had failed as a Mommy!!  My daughter thought Jesus lived on the TV!!   Obviously I recovered from my failed attempt and Amanda knows the real meaning of Christmas.  Over the years I now realize that I had not failed- after all- and was doing the best I knew to do at the time.  I also have realized that even if I had failed God still loved me.

If I had a “do-over” that Christmas, knowing what I know now, I would do the same thing.  I would explain the Christmas story starting at the manger and go to the Cross.  I believe the manger is just the beginning of the Hope we all have. 

In Luke 2 of the Message Bible the angel described the birth announcement as 

a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."

A great and joyful event indeed! For everyone, worldwide!  For you, for me! Because of God’s great love for each of us He sent us His precious son, to a manger, to ultimately go to the Cross for each of us to have life eternally.     

1 John 4:9-10 says: 
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

My only regret from that Christmas many years ago is that I did not keep Amanda’s “clothespin Jesus”.  It got lost through the years.  If it was still in my treasured Christmas possessions, I would proudly perch Clothespin Jesus on the TV as a visual reminder of how much God loves me (even when I think I have failed). 

Merry Christmas!!


Anonymous said...

Awww what a memory! You can always make a clothespin Jesus with your granddaughter when she is older.

Jen said...

This is such a sweet story -- and even though you no longer have the Clothespin Jesus, you have a precious daughter and the wonderful memory.


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