Here’s an addendum:
In the Lee house, we have begun to dig through cardboard boxes and Rubbermaid containers, rescuing tinsel and greenery from year-long nests. We had considered keeping the decorations boxed this year — all but the Christmas tree — thinking we needed to simplify. To focus on the basics.
But we gave in when two little girls begged to dig for pine-scented treasure, wrapped in old newspapers.
They gasped in awe with the re-discovery of each piece: a big red bow here, a strand of gold beads there. It was as if each item, boxed for so long, were brand-new when unearthed a year later.
I ran my fingers over forgotten ornaments made in kindergarten and Sunday School class. Lydia laughed at the photo of herself, as an infant, wearing a miniature Santa suit.
Anna was the first to find the most precious treasure, the one that quickens the heart in this, our time of expectant waiting: Advent.
Anna held the two-inch baby Jesus, between chubby fingers, and lay him carefully in his manger.
“Look, Mommy,” she whispered, “here’s the baby Jesus. I will put him in his dream bed.”
A dream bed.
Anna had forgotten the word: manger. Just as I’d forgotten the treasure trove in these dusty boxes, Anna could not remember the word for Jesus’ first earthly bed. Frankly, we have rarely uttered the word “manger” since last Christmas. Our God-talk has centered on the cross, an empty tomb, Pentecost, and most recently, the story of Creation. We speak daily of His blessings, and the grown-up Jesus who lives in our hearts — but not the baby in the manger.
Anna looked up at me as soon as she’d said the words — dream bed — with the realization that she’d likely mispoken.
“What’s the right word, Mommy?” she asked.
“It’s called a manger, honey,” I told her, “but I think ‘dream bed’ is perfect. From now on, let’s call it a dream bed, OK?”
The Occupier of the Dream Bed is, after all, the One on whom our dreams are centered … the One on whom we wait to fulfill a hope for something more.
The Baby in the Dream Bed; the Fulfiller of Dreams.
We wait, expectantly.