Before our first baby was born I was UBER prepared. Looking back…it was a tad ridiculous. I mean our baby had a car seat installed in our minivan at least 10 weeks before her arrival, 2 strollers ready to roll, a swing, a bouncy seat, 2 pack & plays (strategically placed), a rocking cradle in our room, a sling AND front carrier to carry her in plus all the other little odds and ends you think you “need” as a first time mom. Then of course came her wardrobe…washed and folded, stacked and hung, clothes upon blankets upon burp cloths, bibs, onesies, hats, SHOES and socks…it looked like Pepto Bismol exploded in her closet…and of course…the crib.
Now…the crib was probably the hardest of all decisions. While my wonderful husband…and VERY hands-on father from the moment he knew he was going to be one…helped pick out EVERYTHING our sweet little girl would ever rest her tender little tush in and make sure it was safe and sturdy enough…when it came to the crib…I was shocked at his approach. Here we were walking…okay…I was waddling….around EVERY baby store in Grand Rapids and what did my husband do when he approached a crib on display? He would grab the sides of it and begin to shake it violently! People must have thought we were nuts (as if a baby could rattle a crib apart?) with every shake of my 6′ 4″ extra-large husband with no regard to the sales staff would say “This is too flimsy”…”This one is junk”…”MY baby girl is not sleeping in that!”… “Why can’t they make a decent, sturdy crib for…what!?…$400!? Yeah, right…they’re nuts!” Oh the poor Jenny Lind never had a chance! FINALLY at the last store we came to…there it was…a beautiful solid cherry convertible crib that was STURDY enough for our baby…and it had a lovely changing table to match. Perfection! It was assembled with love in the most meticulous way…every screw check and re-checked…the “safest” crib mattress in place that baby didn’t budge. Then I got to make it all pretty with the most beautiful Classic Pooh bedding. We.were.ready!
I was very pregnant 2 years ago at Christmas with Jackson and was then also, of course, getting things ready for his arrival. The cradle was in our room, his clothes were all washed and put away, and I had the car seat installed and I was driving to church one cold winter morning in my SUV with cushy, heated leather seats thinking about how uncomfortable I was. I was listening to Away in a Manger with Emalynn and Maxwell and then started to think about how Mary must have felt. Her heated leather seat was a donkey…not exactly cushy for her long trek that lasted much longer than 25 minutes. If I were Mary, I think I would’ve had a heart attack if not only did I have to give birth in a dirty, smelly barn but lay…not just my firstborn baby by God’s only Son…in a feed trough for animals. In my pregnant mind I kept hinking…the germs! The filth! NO WAY, NO HOW! I don’t think I could’ve put him down! For a type-A somewhat (okay, very!) ridiculous planner like me I think I would’ve had a nervous breakdown! Mary was a very special woman! Not to mention the fact that her husband, a carpenter, could’ve made the most beautiful cradle for Jesus…yet…they were content to spend their first night in a stable laying him in a feed trough.
One of my favorite things about Christmas is remembering Jesus and His humble life. The King of King, Prince of Peace, Savior of the world, Immanuel, God with us, the most special baby ever born who deserved the finest possible crib and linens was born in a barn and placed in a manger…and eventually died an undeserved criminal’s death on a cross. It might seem strange…but God seems to work in mysterious ways.