“MOM! Annabelle broke baby Jesus again!” one of my children shouted from the family room.
I sighed and walked over to my youngest who was gently holding a delicate, ceramic baby Jesus in her small hands, a ceramic baby who had been placed front and center on our coffee table during the holiday season and usually replaced every few days with a fresh application of hot glue because Annabelle had somehow managed to dismember his arm from the rest of his body once again.
“Annabelle, give Mama baby Jesus. You broke him and Mama needs to fix him – again.”
“NO MAMA! ME WANT BABY JESUS!” she insisted as she cradled her precious possession even tighter in her hands.
“Honey,” I insisted, “You broke him and now Mama has to fix him.”
“No. Me want to hold baby Jesus. Wuv him” was her logical response.
“Ok, love him for a few more minutes and then bring him to me so I can fix his arm.”
I walked away, planting the reminder to “fix baby Jesus” deeply in my consciousness before our advent celebration began that evening.
Later that day I retrieved the hot glue gun from the cupboard. At this point, I wasn’t even sure why I put it away anymore as fixing baby Jesus was becoming a regular event, but here I was, yet again, surveying the brokenness. As the glue gun heated, I paused. Looking at the broken pieces, I considered Annabelle’s deep, authentic desire to “Wuv baby Jesus” in spite of the fact that her intense love continued to break him.
Her intense love continued to break him…
I couldn’t shake this thought. Isn’t brokenness exactly what the Christ child came to accomplish? His intense love for us did indeed break him and batter him and ultimately hung him on a cross with nail spikes in his hands and feet and lips so parched he could hardly speak – the most agonizing pain one human being could suffer on behalf of another. His love so wide and deep and intense for each one of us that the baby in the manager became the man on the cross – beaten and bruised for our issues – for our shortcomings – for our sin. For the truth is, we all broke baby Jesus.
I glanced at the arm lying next to the body and made a decision. Unplugging the glue gun, I placed the arm in the socket where it was meant to be, but I didn’t repair the damage. No, this advent season, baby Jesus’s brokenness will continuously serve as a reminder to us. During this holy season, we will look upon the baby’s broken body and remember the passionate love of our Savior towards each and every one of us. We will be reminded that we should passionately love one another in honor of the Christ child’s birth, and that yes, he was broken, and he was battered by you and me, and because of this rich, abiding sacrifice fueled by an everlasting love, we are, each and every one of us, redeemed.