My young daughter sits on my lap as we flip through her Precious Moments storybook about the birth of Jesus. The room is quiet. She watches wide-eyed as I flip through the cardboard pages. Although it is a picture book, there are so many words that I have to paraphrase to stay within a young girl’s understanding.
I translate the elaborate sentences. The birth of Jesus in a stable—because there was no room in the inn—becomes, “The hotel was full, so baby Jesus was born in a barn with lots of animals.” The shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem is translated as, “There were grown-ups taking care of little lambs.” An angel appearing to shepherds and telling them of Jesus’ arrival becomes, “An angel told people about a baby named Jesus.” The wise men bringing Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh is explained as, “People gave Jesus presents because they were very happy.” Biblical figures Mary and Joseph become “Jesus’ Mommy and Daddy.” The celebration of Jesus’ birth is “a big party for a tiny little boy.”
When I read through this simplified version of the Christmas story, I realize how uncomplicated the message is:
A young woman was chosen to have a special baby.
The baby was born to bless the entire world.
An angel appeared and encouraged people to welcome the baby.
People traveled for miles to bring gifts for the child.
The baby’s mother witnessed the wonderful celebration taking place for her young son.
People continue to celebrate this special baby today.
As my daughter and I snuggle in a rocking chair, I read the storybook to her for the seventeenth time. Even though I’ve been sharing it with her since before she could even hold a book, I am still amazed that this tale of a baby, angel, shepherds, wise men and young mom is a true story.
“Today you will know that the living God is among you. – Joshua 3:10