When Micaela turned two, I had one goal: She was going to eat a cupcake and love it.
Now, mind you, she had only started eating a few months before and still got most her nutrition through the G-tube inserted into her stomach. But, that didn't matter in my mommy-mind. We made the cupcakes, prepared to party, and then waited for my husband to get home. He was branding with some neighbors and there were some hiccups in the day. By the time I realized that he wasn't going to get back before the girls fell asleep, Micaela was a grumpy tired mess.
Determined that my dreams would not be thwarted, I grabbed the plate of cupcakes. Quickly I put them on plates and put them in front of the girls. We sang happy birthday as I madly took pictures. Micaela stared at the cupcake with curiosity and watched Adela bite into hers with the ferocity of a starving coyote. Micaela reached out one chubby hand and wrapped her fingers around the cupcake. Her expression quickly changed from curiosity to alarm. She jerked back her hand. It was covered with sticky frosting. She shook her hands and began to cry.
It didn't matter what that cupcake tasted like, she wasn't going to eat it. My great birthday party plan was unrealized that year and I put a very sad and upset toddler to bed.
This morning, God reminded me of that story. I am determined to celebrate Jesus' birthday with Him and have a heart full of gratitude and love. However, my plans of singing carols everyday, joining community gatherings, making Christmas treats, and doing art project that could grace a tree are not quite turning out the way I planned. The girls and I were quarantined last week due to an exposure to COVID. As we wait-out our fourteen days, my plans had to be revised. I have been frustrated and often walking around the house like a lost child.
However, in my prayer time, I remembered that birthday of Micaela. She might have had a bad experience with a cupcake, but her mother was there with her. I was present in the experience of that day and dedicated to letting her know how much I love her.
I can do that with Jesus, too. He doesn't need the Holidays to be perfect, He just wants me to be as present with Him as possible. We can love the people in our lives without lavish expressions of gratitude. Honestly, the truest form of love is simply being with others, knowing them, and inviting them into our world.
Whatever your Holidays look like this year, I pray that Jesus is intimately invited into it all.
Happy Birthday, Immanuel.
What is one of your favorite ways to celebrate Jesus' birthday?
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"...and God was already there with me."