As I mentioned earlier, due to internet security, I can't tell you exactly when, or for how long, but in not too many more days we'll be in Thailand (who knows? Maybe I'm there right now!), taking in the sights, tracking down our old haunts, and - most importantly to me - being warm.
Since we're having a fairly abbreviated Christmas this year (due in part to our
Son #1 was about 3, and it was shortly before Christmas. We had a very nice lifelike Italian creche that we bought the Christmas after he was born and have put up each year since (until the dog ate Baby Jesus and we had to come up with a substitute, but that's another story) and this was the first Christmas he was old enough to really understand the basic story of the the Nativity, which he had asked me to tell him.
Let me just say that my mother's heart - as well as my sense of the tender tableau the two of us were creating - thrilled at this. Picture, if you will, the scene: Son #1 in his adorable fuzzy jammies (with feet in them of course) curled up in my lap next to the fireplace, bathed in the soft glow of the lights of Christmas tree, looking together at the manger scene in front of us. Cuddled together there in the soft firelight, I gently and simply tell him one of the great stories of our faith. We touch the various characters; the tired Mummy, who needed a place to rest; the proud Daddy, who had looked so long for a place to shelter his family; the wondering shepherds, the reverent Wise Men, the animals in the manger, all of them there to adore the very special newborn king - a little boy, just like him.
When I am done telling the story, we are silent for a while; I hug him close, marveling in the peace and beauty of the scene, of sharing the true meaning of Christmas with him, and the reverent shine I see in his eyes. After a moment of reflection, he reaches out a chubby hand to touch one of the figures, "That's Joseph?" he asks me. "Yes," I say, "that's Joseph." He reaches out again: "That's Mary?" he asks. "Yes," I agree, "that's Mary." Then, he reaches out and softly touches the figure of the baby. "That's baby Jesus?" he asks, looking at me again for confirmation. "Yes, dear," I tell him, stroking his fair hair, "that's baby Jesus. We sit together, sharing a, tender moment before he leans forward again, towards the creche. Suddenly, his hand - now in the shape of a fist - darts out at the creche again. "BONK!!" he shouts triumphantly, with a violent hammer blow into the manger; "I BONK the baby Jesus!
Anyway.......Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus.