Don’t Forget the Baby!
Mary and Joseph looked in wonder at the baby lying in the manger. The angels announced this special birth to the shepherds in the field. Everyone’s attention focused on the excitement of it. They didn’t see what happened until it was almost too late…
A beautiful 18-month-old girl, with big brown eyes and red, rosy cheeks (the smallest of the angels) was so taken with the baby Jesus she waddled right up to the manger, grabbed him and ran. She was almost out the chapel door before anyone realized what happened. While the audience laughed, her embarrassed mother retrieved the baby and put him back in his proper place.
The Russia/CIS cadets’ Christmas program went on with only a few more determined attempts at this same theft and the day ended with a fond remembrance of its events.
Christmas is now past. The cadets are back at school, preparing for their commissioning. The new year is well under way.
As I think back over the last five months and our first Christmas in Moscow, a flood of thoughts and emotions fills me. Feelings are often reflected through statements of our frustration (“What ARE we doing here?”) or in waves of laughter as we try to maneuver through public markets or drive through Moscow. We feel joy as we see the cadets grow and mature and peace, knowing we are exactly where God wants us to be.
Often, however, this new life and these mixed feelings become a distraction. As I think about our special angel who stole Jesus, I wonder: am I, like the little angel, taking Jesus with me as I move through this new year? The question begs to be answered, “Where is he? Am I including him in my life?”
So many distractions crowd our busy lives. I wonder how many of us forget to take Jesus with us. Maybe we get too busy in the details of day to day living. Maybe we become satisfied at a Sunday visit only. Many seem content to leave Jesus lying in the manger or to pack him and put him away up at the end of the season with the Christmas decorations.
That little angel brought new perspective to the Christmas story. She wanted the baby so badly, her attempts at “babynapping” continued throughout the whole program. She reminded me of my need to keep Jesus with me each day. Do I desire to have Jesus the way she did?
I think Jesus knew how easy it is to become distracted when he told the disciples, “Remain in me and I will remain in you.” (John 15:4). I must have him. I need him. I can’t do it alone.
Jesus waits for me to take him from the manger. He waits for me to include him in my life. He is waiting even now.
“Little Mother, let the little angel keep the baby. She knows what she’s doing.”
–Captain Jennifer Fagerstrom