Scene 1. OutsideWal-Mart. December, years ago.
A loaded buggy rolls down a slight incline towards me. We collide. “Whoa!” I grab its side to stay upright. A cherubic face peers from among piles of bags and boxes. Wide eyes meet mine. They belong to an infant.
“I just got run over by a baby!” I say in surprise, to no one in particular.
The man pushing the buggy laughs and talks very fast. “So sorry! His name is Ashton. He apologizes, and I apologize too. We all apologize.” His wife nods energetically.
Scene 2. My living room, later the same day. Our Christmas tree lights the corner by the piano. The clock that ticked us through our children’s blooming years and beyond strikes eight. Charlotte Church warbles Silent Night on the stereo. A hand-carved nativity set decorates the mantle. Beneath it, the fireplace glows.
All is calm, all is bright. I’m ensconced in the Preacher’s butter-coloured recliner. In my arms, wrapped like a flannel fajita, rests my young grandson. Grinning and fidgeting with his favorite nose – mine. I’m grandbaby-sitting.
Sleep, little Bean. Sleep in heavenly peace. Nana needs that, even if you don’t.
The doorbell chimes. The Preacher enters the room to answer it. It’s a co-worker, dropping something off. They chat in the doorway. The child in my arms raises his head, curious at the unfamiliar voice, then lowers it again.
The man greets me and glances around at the baby toys, board books, stuffed animals, car seat, blankets and diaper bag strewn around the living room. In the dining room sits a large, brightly colored kiddy-car.
Seeming puzzled, he blurts, “What happened to your house? It looks like a …” He fumbles for words.
“Like a baby palace?” I say.
He was right. When we became grandparents over thirteen years ago, our house took on a slightly juvenile edge. It still wears it, because Grandma really did get run over by a baby. Six of them.
Babies do that. They storm the place. Rearrange your life. Rearrange you.
Our nativity scenes have it all wrong, I think. Precisely placed livestock, wise men, shepherds in a row. Mary – lovely, unruffled. Joseph, quietly awestruck. Not a straw of hay out of place.
Like every baby before or since, God in the stable turned things upside down; before and after his birth. His mother could have been stoned for adultery. His father endured societal ridicule. A king murdered all the baby boys in town because of him. He forced his parents to become refugees. And that was just the beginning.
Over two thousand years later, Jesus still turns things upside down, including attitudes, relationships and lifestyles. Sometimes it’s not comfortable. Others will notice. Some may mock. But when you’re holding tight to Christ, his strength becomes yours, and knowing him brings life and light, hope and joy.
Get run over by The Baby this Christmas.