The Crooked Camel

The wise men are falling over, there’s a tree floating above the manger, and the camel is crooked.


Yesterday Natalie and I put a sticker nativity scene up on the wall. I did some to get her started then let her place the rest on her own. I wanted her to enjoy doing it independently, but it took a conscious effort on my part not to stop her and “fix” it. I wanted to straighten out those wise men and guide her little hand to a better spot for the tree. But I resisted and let her just have fun.

As I walked by it last night on my way to bed, I spotted that crooked camel and smiled. I love these moments with my little girl.

Beyond that, though, I felt a gentle reminder from God… our little nativity scene isn’t perfect, but neither is this world that God sent His Son into!

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the sweet pictures in our Christmas books and the friendly looking animals that sit beside my nativity scene on the shelf. But I know that Jesus’ entrance into this world wasn’t so neat and pretty. And while I love to sing along to Silent Night I’m pretty sure that, between the newborn infant and the multitude of angels proclaiming the news to the shepherds, it wasn’t so silent!

Jesus came into the world just like any other newborn baby would, messy and (probably) crying. His head didn’t radiate light like some of the drawings we see. And I doubt the words of Away in a Manger, “the cattle are lowing the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying He makes”, are very accurate.

God didn’t rearrange or “fix” things in the world to pave an easy path for His Son. Jesus lived a real human life, right from the start.

Yes, Jesus was God incarnate and He lived a sinless life. That fact is essential to His saving work for us on the cross. But He was also fully human. At Christmas we can celebrate the joy of Jesus’ coming, not only because He brought salvation but also because He loves us so much that He became like one of us.

I think of the words from Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” What an amazing gift for us to know that Jesus humbled Himself and lived in this world, setting an example for us and providing comfort and strength for the difficulties we face in our lives.

Let us never forget the hugeness of the sacrifice that was made when Jesus came to earth. This is an imperfect place, a messy place, a place where things aren’t often neat or pretty. And Jesus – God’s Son – came here to live among us… crooked camels and all!






The Edge of the Bed

“Mommy! Mommy!”

Her little voice pulled me out of bed sometime around 3am last night. Down the hall to the room with the moon nightlight shining on the ceiling. She was standing in her crib, stuffed animals tucked tight against her, hair covering half of her face.

I picked her up and cuddled her close, “What’s wrong sweetheart?”

She looked at me with wide eyes and pointed back down the hall to our room. I carried her there, settling her in bed between Steve and I. It didn’t take long for her to stretch out, diagonal across the middle, pushing me to the edge of the bed. She drifted back to sleep.

Me on the other hand… I stayed in a hazy half-sleep for a while. Her feet against my back, as well as the knowledge that I’d have to pick her up and carry her back to her crib, kept me partially awake.

I don’t know when I finally did lift her up from our bed, kiss her soft forehead, and lay her down in her crib once more. I do know that my alarm went off too soon afterwards and I hit snooze an extra time.


I used to think I wouldn’t be one to let my kids come in bed with me. I was wrong.

Maybe I bring her in because it’s easier for me to lay back down with her quiet by my side than to listen to her cry. Maybe I just can’t resist those middle of the night cuddles. Or maybe Faith changed the way I parent. I guess I’ll never know that for sure, but I suspect that’s true in some ways.

I’m tired today, but that’s okay. Someday she won’t call my name in the night, won’t need me to lift her from her crib to hug her and kiss her and comfort her. But until then… I don’t mind the edge of the bed.