What Does The Sheep Say?

As we began this Christmas season, it was all so familiar, yet so different. This year our first child was away at school. This child is the only one we had for 17 ½ years. Then God decided He would bestow on us yet another blessing from above, another daughter. So, just about the time we thought our home would be empty at Christmas, it is full once again. With the pitter patter of an 11-month old, with her giggling, and her eyes in wonderment of the Christmas lights and displays.

It seemed as though she was simply mesmerized by the lights, so we just had to have some of our own (a first in over 20 years!). I purchased a few strands and we began. Of course I didn’t do it just right, nor did I look at the length therefore they wouldn’t fit in the 2 windows I had picked out. They would have to go outside – statement from my husband. He would hang them, later. (Sound Familiar?) So 'later' came in the form of a weekend. He began hanging, stapling, wrapping, etc. and finally plugged them in...nothing! Well, some lights worked and some didn’t. Then he asked, “Did you plug them in first?” “Uhhh, Errr, No, I didn’t think about it.” Oh well...take them down and go buy some more...he wanted multicolored ones anyway, where I had only bought white bulbs. The baby would enjoy colored lights better he said.

After all the lights are hung and burning I went to storage to find what decorations I might have kept since our move last year. One box, inside are a few ornaments from years gone by, mostly keepsakes from our #1 daughter, with her name on them. A couple small nativity scenes and a small 8 inch tree. These will do nicely in the windowsill. One of the nativity scenes is actually a wind-up music box that plays “Silent night.” My young daughter took to it immediately. She smiled at the music coming from the rotating Joseph and Mary. She wanted to touch it, to hold it...to take Baby Jesus out of the manger. "No, put that back. Here, pet the sheep." Always in a teaching mode with a child I state while petting the sheep with her, “Sheep. The sheep says, baaaaaa.” She looked into my eyes, wondering what that noise was. She looked back at the sheep and stated, “bbbbbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.” I laughed and insisted she say it again, which she obliged “baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.” Is she gifted or what?

It was at this moment I realized this is what Christmas is all about. Lights dancing in a child’s eye, the wonder of the music coming from a box, and teaching them the sound that animals make. Not simply Christmas alone, but life. We tend to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, not taking time for the small things.

Sitting on the floor with our child, rolling the ball back and forth again and again. Going through college catalogs and discussing next years schedules. This may seem monotonous and a waste of valuable time when you have dishes to do, phone calls to return, email to check and laundry to fold. After all you can’t even see past the nightly news (hoping sometimes to even be able to stay awake through it).

Life, nor Christmas was meant to be so hectic. I believe God intended life to be enjoyable, not simply a blur of activity. Personally I’m going to take the time necessary to teach my baby to bark (what does the dog say?)and meow (what does the cat say?) before the New Year and fill out a few scholarship applications with my 18 year old. If that’s all I have to show for Christmas 2000..that’s fine with me.

Shanna Hoskison (c) December 6, 2000





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