Janet's Jargon

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas from a Lamb's point-of-view

Almost every family has their own holiday traditions. As long as we had kids at home, we had a live Christmas tree. With changes in tow, we opted for a small artificial tree. It seems strange to me, since I grew up in the middle of the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota. I get it out the weekend after Thanksgiving.

We also had two of our daughter's dolls that played the part of Mary and Joseph for the "creche" under the tree. A small antique baby doll made it complete. When she moved to her own apartment, the Holy Family went with her. I'm glad she has them, but it looked really bare by our more demure tree, so I hauled three much smaller dolls out of my own doll collection, wrapped them in a soft gold-colored cloth and placed them on top of the organ. It looked just right.

The "final straw" in the manger scene was the addition of "Lambie Pie." Kevin, the youngest of our trio of kids, got Lambie Pie (he named it) when he was about 2 years old. It was already showing signs of being well loved when he found him in a corner at a garage sale. Kevin slept with Lambie Pie for several years, but on Christmas he knew that the proper place for the little ovine creature was there, watching out for the baby Jesus' well being. Like the original Holy Family, when the kids left home, Lambie Pie was nowehre to be found. Kevin said he didn't have him. Raquel went out in the storage shed out back to see if it was there. Nope. So, while it left a hole in the scene, it just didn't seem right to replace Lambie Pie.

Kevin, after several places of trying to find the "home" that felt right to him, settled in New Orleans. He went through several traumatic experiences there, and I am convinced that he had a guardian angel watching over him. One day I'll blog about his special angel. Meanwhile, he was determined to stick it out through Katrina's warnings, but at the last minute he sent a very short e-mail to his dad. "Have a ride out. Leaving. Will call when I can." Those were some of the most nerve-wracking hours we had ever spent. Did they make it out? Were they stranded someplace on a rooftop, waiting to be rescued? Not knowing is usually the worst part of waiting.

Ivan and I were gone for a bit to do some errands, but when we came home, there, sitting on the kitchen table, stood--Lambie Pie! It was as if it was a sign from God that Kevin was going to be OK. Ivan went over to the computer and there was a note from Kevin, stating that they were in a motel in some little town in Arkansas. They (Kevin and his dog, Windigo) were fine, and he gave us the phone number of the motel. No voice has ever sounded better!

A bit later, we had a call from our daughter, Raquel, who lives here in Grand Forks, ND. She had been going through some boxes and discovered that she had Lambie Pie. She couldn't remember packing it when she moved from our house to her own apartment, but that didn't matter. Lambie Pie was back, and both last year and this year he has stood proudly off to the side, guarding the baby Jesus. Yes, most people would think he is too tall to be there. Not after all he'd been through. He has become a symbol of the hugeness of God's love and grace and protection to us.

Last Christmas, our neighbor boy, Joel (about 10 at the time), came over and was looking at the scene on the organ. He went around to the organ bench and took something off it and headed back to the Christmas scene. Ivan has a collection of stuffed lions and tigers, in various and sundry sizes. Joel had taken two of the littlest lions and set them beside Lambie Pie. He grinned as he announced, "The lions shall lie down with the lamb. One day there will be peace on earth." So, the lions are there again this year. They, too, are a symbol of hope and faith in a better world. Will it be in our lifetime? Who's to say? I think it is a good thing that we can't see into the future. Without knowing, we still have hope and faith.

As I share the picture of our Christmas scene, and the story behind it, I wish you all a joyous and blessed holiday season. Despite some people's claims, God is alive and well!


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