christmas was as close as i came to jesus as a child.
i wasn’t told the story. there wasn’t a countdown to the manger in my house. i didn’t hear about the blessed virgin turned away at the inn ad nauseum.
instead my brother and i helped my mom assemble the christmas tree in the living room. the branches with red tape in this pile and the branches with blue in that one. she’d plug in the lights to make sure they were all working and the christmas spirit was electricity in the air around us.
we would pile in the car and there’d be christmas carols on the radio and piles of presents under the tree. my father’s mother – her eyes would glow when we arrived for all the love and surprise she had waiting for those she loved so well.
the drama of my christmas wasn’t a baby born to save the world – it was better.
it was beating hearts that longed to hold you on a cold winter night. it was the kindness found under a fake tree and a fake santa arriving late with a fifth tucked in his bag along with the presents for the kids. a holy night a wholly other sort.
it was flesh and blood.
and so when i did hear the old, old story – the good news of christmas and the baby born, it fit like a glove because i’d known great love that gives too much my whole life.
i’d grown up with flesh and blood that loved me better than i deserved.
so hand me that baby.
don’t keep a safe distance or cast him in untouchable alabaster this year. babies need to be held close and feel your beating heart. i will hold jesus and i will love well and i will celebrate just like my family showed me how in detroit back when i was a little girl.