At a church I once served, there was always much anticipation and discussion surrounding the choice of the real, live baby Jesus in the yearly nativity pageant. It was such a vaunted position, I wondered if couples worked hard in February and March to make Christmas dreams come true. Everybody wants to be, or be the mother of, baby Jesus.
And yet, as I’m facing the reality this week that my own babe will not be in his own bed come Christmas Eve (with a bedtime much earlier than his parents’ time off), I’m surprised at the strong urge I have to make sure he is not disturbed in the least by this vocational necessity.
Two friends have each graciously offered to care for him while his parents perform their priestly duties at the 10pm vigil mass of Christmas, and yet I’m still throwing out calls on Facebook to find someone who cares to sit in my own house, away from family, on Christmas Eve, so that my son does not spend most of the night in a strange bed.
Who is it that spent Christmas Eve in a strange bed, but Jesus himself? Oh, how hard it is to allow one’s own precious children to trod the way of Jesus, in both ways small and great (spending a few hours in a pack-and-play being a small way, I admit). May I remember the supreme importance of following the way of the cross, as well as encouraging and allowing my blessed family members — especially children — to do the same.