by Joani Schultz
Everything Christmas shouts “A Baby’s about to be born!”
This Christmas, for Thom and me, looking forward to a baby definitely has taken on a new light.
We’re about to be grandparents for the first time!
I’ve never realized how waiting for Jesus this time of year is a whole lot like anticipating the birth of a baby in the family.
3 things I’ve discovered:
Weird, but suddenly we notice pregnant women everywhere! We ooh and aah over tiny babies like precious treasures we can’t help admiring. Smiling. Starting conversations we’d never do otherwise.
What if in the same way we realized Jesus is alive and active all around us? We’ve just never really noticed before. Like pregnant moms lurking all around us, maybe we can see Jesus everywhere. In Rick Lawrence’s life-changing book The Jesus-Centered Life, he writes, “Notice, notice, notice…Tell Jesus what you’re thinking or feeling or hearing or seeing or smelling, and then ask him a simple question: What do you think about that? or Why am I noticing that right now? or What’s true and not true about that? or Where are you in that? or Why am I reacting this way? Expect him to respond, and he will.”
Noticing is a way to see to Jesus—The Baby worth paying attention to.
Once our son and daughter-in-love (my favorite title for our son’s high-school-sweetheart-turned-wife) learned they’d be parents, the naming game began. They stopped “playing” once they realized they had unlimited options till they learned the child’s gender. There’s even a test to make sure you don’t label a baby with a blooper moniker. (I confess. I sent the test link to them for fear they may get crazy and choose a too-goofy name for our family-member-to-come.)
What if we dove into each name of Jesus with the same desire of finding the perfect baby name? What if we cuddled up to each of Jesus’ names like a baby? What if we took Jesus’ names seriously?
“For a child is born to us. A son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Every name of Jesus means something special. In over 100 ways, the Bible refers to Jesus with names that powerfully, uniquely speak to our very being. He is perfectly named to perfectly connect to us. (If you’re curious, check it out for yourself.) For a “Reflecting on the Names of Jesus” devotional coloring experience, download these pages. Or try the entire Jesus-Centered meditative experience that lets Jesus’ names seep into your soul while you color.
The idea of a new little personality to dote on and love makes already-grandparents and parents giddy. I got a tiny glimpse of how ecstatic other grandparents were for us. They spontaneously exuded joy. Hugs. Tears. Friends wrapped their arms around us and said “It’s the best! You have no idea how great it is! You’ll love being grandparents!”
Like the pure joy Jesus brings into our lives, I get it.
A certain “Expectant blog” definitely got our attention. It gives a week-by-week picture of what to expect—in the size of a vegetable or fruit! Too fun! Here’s the fruit report. (We thought it was particularly fitting that our grandbaby-to-be was the size of a sweet potato over Thanksgiving!)
What if we welcomed Jesus coming into our lives with such enthusiasm? This quirky website gave me a whole new anticipation of the “fruit of the spirit”! Imagine us anticipating what God is going to do through us at every stage in our life.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Now, that fruit is better than any blueberry or cantaloupe, don’t you think?
Expecting a baby is exciting! How incredible that our God comes to us as the best Baby gift ever!
May we be as excited about the Baby Jesus as we are for a grandbaby! Share your grandbaby/Baby Jesus connections with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to share your joy!