01 January 2013

Christmas Tradition: Preparing for Baby Jesus

A new tradition we began this Christmas became Bennett's big responsibility each night during our Advent candle lighting (a tradition we began last year - we love traditions!!).

Each evening, Bennett loved fetching "the manger basket" from under the tree and taking it to each family member to place a small amount of straw in it.  The goal of this tradition is to remind the boys each night during the month of December what the Christmas season is about and what we are preparing for - the birth of Christ.  

I made our manger from a basket from Hobby Lobby and straw from a cut up Hula skirt.  Each night, we would add a tiny bit of "hay" so that by Christmas eve, it was ready. 

We found it particularly touching to watch Bennett begin to understand, on a very basic level, why we were celebrating Christmas this year through this activity.  Each night, we would ask him, "why are we putting straw in the manger, Bennett?"  He loved to reply in his little lisp, "Cause, we are getting ready for Baby Jesus!!"  

Lo and behold, on Christmas morning, a baby showed up in the manger.

I wondered if the kids would be freaked out or intrigued when they found a baby doll in the manger that morning (we don't see baby dolls very often in this house).  I didn't really know how much they would understood of what we were doing.  But they were fine. In fact, Oliver seemed to genuinely understand that we were, in a sense, acting out/participating in the story of Jesus' birth.

But this was our conversation with Bennett on Christmas morning...

We said, "Look, Bennett, baby Jesus arrived!"

Both Bennett and Oliver went straight to the Christmas tree to look in the basket.
Bennett began to look around and asked, "But where's Mama?"

Realizing he wanted to know where Baby Jesus' mama was, I said, "Oh, we don't have Mary or Joseph, do we?"  Bennett shook his head no.

For a split second, I wondered if I had just had a parenting fail.  Should I have included Mary and Joseph under the tree??  Would they have been blow up dolls??

Moving on, I tried to deflect Bennett's disappointment.  I explained, "But Baby Jesus arrived!  It's his birthday!"

Bennett, like any good three year old, then excitedly asked, "Oh, then, now we can have cake?"

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