Thursday, December 15, 2011

What Shall We Give to the Babe in the Manger?

Two weeks ago I was walking by the check-out line in Wal-Mart when I spotted a woman who was not only wearing fuzzy pajama bottoms to the store, she was wrapped up in a plush, polka-dotted bathrobe.  Completing the effect were her pink house shoes and stringy, just-out-of-the-shower hair.  I couldn't resist.  I pretended to be interested in a bin of $5 videos while I surreptitiously snapped a picture of her with my cell phone.  "Seriously.  A bathrobe?" I texted David.  "I realize it's Wal-Mart, but come on."

I intended to blog about her.  I uploaded the picture and began to type.  But then, as I looked at her, I changed my mind.  Maybe it was the fact that I had just spent the morning navigating the aisles at Target with two toddlers who like to remove their socks and shoes as soon as they enter a building, which, I admit, makes me look like quite a negligent parent, especially when coupled with the fact that Leah also regularly refuses to wear her coat in spite of the freezing weather outside.  Or maybe I just felt sorry for anyone whose circumstances caused them to end up at Wal-Mart wearing a bathrobe.  Whatever it was, I started wondering about her.  What if she was wearing a bathrobe because she just had a baby and couldn't bear to wear anything else?  What if she just had surgery or chemotherapy?  What if her whole family had the stomach flu and she had to run to the store between her own barfing episodes to buy medicine?  What if her house burned down and her pajamas were the only thing she had left?

Suddenly her bathrobe seemed less of a joke.  It was a reminder:  You need to be more charitable.

Fast forward two weeks and I was sitting at the computer staring blankly at the screen, completely uninspired as to how to begin my Christmas letter.  Michael had been banished to some solo wii time so I could get a few things done.  I felt stressed and busy.  I had new shelves I wanted to prime and paint, birthdays and Christmas to plan, doctor visits to schedule, guests to accommodate, bills to pay, laundry and visiting teaching to do, and, of course, plenty of cleaning.  I had put Michael off several times in his requests to play with me.  "I'm busy," I said.  "I have to get this done.  I'll play with you later."

From the couch he mumbled under his breath, "I wish you could have fun with me, Mom."

Again, like I had with the bathrobe photo, I stopped in my tracks.  I shut down the computer and hopped on the couch to play Super Mario.  Michael spontaneously hugged me every time I helped him pass a difficult level.  "I love you, Mom!" he said.

He was a reminder:  You need to give more time to your kids.

So it was that the words of a song came into my head:

What shall we give to the babe in the manger,
What shall we offer the child in the stall?
Incense and spices and gold we've a-plenty
Are these the gifts for the king of us all?

What shall we give to the boy in the temple,
What shall we offer the man by the sea?
Palms at his feet and hosannas uprising;
Are these for him who will carry the tree?

What shall we give to the lamb who was offered,
Rising the third day and shedding his love?
Tears for his mercy we'll weep at the manger,
Bathing the infant come down from above.

That's when I realized that the thoughts I had had earlier were reminders that I did have a meaningful gift to offer.  Time.  And my heart.

I'm so grateful for the Savior and for those little moments that helped me see how I could better serve Him -- Grateful for that Babe in the Manger who gave His time and His heart to save us all.


mathmom said...

You said it perfectly Bonnie. Thanks for the great reminder! I needed that.

Suzanne Lucas said...

Thanks Bonnie. That's a beautiful song and a good reminder.

kws said...

Love this Bonnie- thank you!

Mackenzie Waters said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Tara said...

Well, aren't I glad you told me I need to blog more! What a great entry. Thank you. And I LOVE the picture of you and David--so great, screaming kids and all ;0)