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Car Wash Christmas

My day was packed with an errand list longer than the state of Texas! I was moving as fast as I could, trying to check it all off in order to get home in time to shower and dress for a special Christmas dinner. Two of our dearest friends were visiting from out of town and I was “mad-rushing” now so I could enjoy “relaxing” later. I drove into the car wash, slipped my foot off the gas and took a minute to review my remaining errands when it happened.  MercyMe’s “Joseph’s Lullaby” came on the radio and grabbed my heart. Though my eyes were still glued to my list, I saw nothing. In fact, somehow I even forgot what I was doing. My brain emptied and all I could do was listen.

The song has always been one of my Christmas favorites – one of those that either makes you all warm and fuzzy, loving everyone as you sing, snap your fingers and dance in the grocery store aisle… or the one that makes you melt and cry all at the same time. This time I was crying…trapped in the car wash, stuck in neutral, shutting out the world for one moment of silence to really soak in Christmas.  Not the exciting racing around, the festive lights and wrapping paper – but the simple stable with a newborn child held by a father who barely knew him, yet loved beyond understanding. A tiny child that was unknown to mankind yet bigger than the world.

I love reading between the lines of a Bible stories, and the holy birth is no exception. Today we as a people know Christ by our personal research or His fame as an historical figure, but at that time in history, He was simply a baby born to two ordinary teens. Tucked away in a common stable, oblivious to the townspeople distracted by the hustle and bustle of the census, Joseph had time to grasp the greatness of his baby…thee Baby…His Baby!

Go to sleep my Son
This manger for your bed
You have a long road before You
Rest Your little head

Can You feel the weight of Your glory?
Do You understand the price?
Or does the Father guard Your heart for now
So You can sleep tonight?

I remember December of 1999. We had just moved to Texas, barely knew anyone and had given birth to our second child, Nicholas. It was 10:00pm and the house was silent as I held my six-day old baby boy. Jay was driving home from the airport with his parents who would be staying on to help for a few weeks. As I sat there in the dark, feeling and hearing his tiny breaths on my neck as we cuddled, I remembered Mary and Joseph. They had to have done this very same thing in the middle of the night. When the world was dark and quiet, were they holding him, staring at him in awe and wondering what was to come? It is one thing to just enjoy a new baby and figure things out as you go but I think as parents, they felt an added pressure. God gave them an extraordinary child, one that had a stated purpose beyond their comprehension. “He will be the Savior of the world” was enough of a title to cast a shadow over their excitement as parents. Instead of living freely in the moment, I think they were forced to prepare for a costly future. I wonder if in later years Joseph ever said, “Wait! Let’s just stop a minute. I am your father; you are my son. I’m standing up for you and shutting off the world. We need time to just be a family.” I wonder as he held this newborn if Joseph cried at the time already fleeting, not knowing why he felt panicked, but knowing it was beyond his control to protect his child.

Go to sleep my Son
Go and chase Your dreams
This world can wait for one more moment
Go and sleep in peace

I believe the glory of Heaven
Is lying in my arms tonight
But Lord, I ask that He for just this moment
Simply be my child

Go to sleep my Son
Baby, close Your eyes
Soon enough You'll save the day
But for now, dear Child of mine
Oh my Jesus, Sleep tight

Although the song is beautiful and meant to show God’s glory, tears flowed down my cheeks as my heart hurt for Joseph. I think he knew the real meaning of Christmas: Jesus was born to leave him and save us - people Joseph would never know. People who didn’t really care or want Jesus in their lives. People who didn’t know Jesus or were too busy to take the time. Just like today…today I awoke and grabbed my agenda. I hurried the children off to school and sped out the door. No quiet time. No Proverbs prayer. No Advent calendar moment. “But just as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds (from the excitement of the holiday) may be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 11:3)   Did I love Him? Yes! Did I know the reason for the season? Yes! But there in that car wash, God focused me and allowed me to worship at the stable…right there amidst the suds and water sprayers, He made me relax and enjoy His Child’s birth.

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