and our eyes, at last shall see Him.

standing in a pile of ill-fitting skirts i reluctantly slipped on a maternity one. i wasn’t happy with how i looked, and we were already late. i thought about where i’d be able to nurse two month old samson and started to feel anxious. maybe we shouldn’t go, i thought. but i specifically felt a need to take asher.

it was easter weekend and my friend’s ward (congregation) was hosting a walk through Christ’s final week. we arrived at the chapel and asher attempted to blow out every electric candle on display in the foyer. we helped him wave a palm leaf at the triumphal entry. in a dimmed room he partook of symbolic bread and water. he sat still on the floor of the garden room. during pilate’s plea for Jesus’ release, i slipped out to feed samson.

we regrouped in the cookie room (a lesser known part of the biblical narrative) before finding the tomb. an ordinary classroom had been transformed. it was unrecognizable.

we entered the empty tomb and i told him, Jesus died.

died. he repeated.

but he got up. he was all better.

wow! asher said, waving his arms over his head and jumping.

i felt Christ near as we left that empty little room even though asher kept saying died.

a fascination with death followed, be it bugs, the ipad, or Jesus. during our sacrament meeting easter sunday he pointed to the picture of Jesus Christ on the program and loudly declared, dead. Jesus dead. died. dead.

with every death pronouncement i’d follow it up with, remember, Jesus lives! he’s alive! he has a new body. i figured he’d eventually understand.

the seasons changed and we found ourselves preparing for christmas.

his love of diddys (babies) extended naturally to The Holy Baby. he carefully arranged his little nativities, often carrying baby Jesus from one room in the house to another. nightly we read beautifully illustrated books allowing plenty of time to pause along with the animals to admire baby Jesus. he asked daily to place baby Jesus on our advent calendar. i planned for the big reveal to be on christmas eve, but realized my mistake and relented somewhere around day 18. a sheep was swapped for Jesus and there he was, velcroed into his hanging manger.

awe, cute. asher cooed.

we watched videos of Christ’s life – including his death. asher sat very still and asked so many questions about owies, hurts, robbers, caves and missing bodies.

Jesus body missing. he’d tell people.

remember, he came back? he has a new body. he’s all better. i’d explain.

on the way to our church’s nativity event asher asked if baby Jesus would be real. i fumbled for words to express that the baby in the live nativity would be a real baby but wouldn’t be Jesus even though Jesus is in fact real. the event had a tomb similar to the easter one we entered. asher was eager to spend time there.

Jesus body missing. he told the people behind us.

after we had finished all the activities that evening and were headed to our car asher asked to go back to the cave. i took him a second time and wondered what he saw inside that empty tomb.

this week he has begun to pray for both baby Jesus and big Jesus. i don’t want him to die, he told me last night before falling asleep.

i felt pain realizing that this story has already been written. Christ has already been wounded for us. but because of that, no matter our sadness,  joy commeth in the morning (psalm 30:5).

nativity_6202a

for He is our childhood’s pattern; day by day, like us He grew; He was little, weak and helpless,
tears and smiles like us He knew; and He feeleth for our sadness, and He shareth in our gladness.
and our eyes at last shall see Him, through His own redeeming love;
for that Child so dear and gentle is our Lord in heaven above,
and He leads His children on to the place where He is gone.
{once in royal david’s city; cecil frances alexander}

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