Everyone woke up a little blurry-eyed. Thankfully there wasn’t the normal frantic pace of a typical Christmas morning. Once everyone was stirring we sat down and had a delicious breakfast, complete with balloons to signify from the onset that the day was set aside for someone special. Of course Emeline was already geared up to open presents, but I have to admit that she was less insistent that we open them than she could have been.

After breakfast we gathered in the den and began reading the nativity story from the Jesus-Storybook bible, which if you have children, is a must for your library. We then proceeded to read though on story about the life of Jesus. Emeline picked out the parable about the treasure hidden in a field. What an appropriate selection for Christmas morning. We then continued our reading into the events of the crucifixion, Jesus’ subsequent death, and then his glorious resurrection. Emeline then sang us a song (an original) about how God made the whole world, everyone should praise him, and Jesus died on the cross so that we can praise God. It was sweet.

Everyone got multiple meaningful and needed gifts (my second favorite might be the pass to the Masters Par 3 in April!; you’ll understand my first later), but there is no need to spend much time here because it wasn’t the focus of the day.

We sat down for a marvelous dinner and after dinner we had a marbled red velvet birthday cake made in honor of the incarnation of the Son of God. Emeline led us in Happy Birthday. She began the song by changing keys mid-stream. I couldn’t help but laugh through most of the song.

What will surely be my most lasting memory from this Christmas followed. Emeline went to get her storybook bible and brought it to the table to read everyone a story out of the bible. She began “reading” at the Garden of Gethsemane, which she calls the “Olive Garden” (“Jesus’ favorite place, you know”). She explained how the disciples were tired and went to sleep on Jesus. She then talked about Jesus praying and telling the Father that He didn’t want to die. She then descriptively explained the events of Jesus’ crucifixion, his agony on the cross, and even his words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

She then went on to talk about Jesus’ disciples laying him in the tomb where the three women came to wash his body. She said it was “Mary, Madeline (because she didn’t get that Mary Magdalene was one person and can’t say Magdalene), and because we didn’t know the name of the third woman in the picture (who we later discovered was likely a woman named “Joanna”), Emeline named her “Aladia” (her imaginary friend). She detailed the encounter with the angel where the women scramed in fright. She spoke of Jesus’ meeting Mary outside the tomb when she mistook him for the gardener. She closed by talking about Mary running to tell Jesus’ disciples that he was alive.

Emeline did all this from memory. She can’t read, but with book open she shared in detail accounts from each page of her storybook bible. Not only was is quite sweet, but I was amazed at how much of the gospel she has already processed at such a young age. I thank God for making His gospel come alive in her heart and pray eagerly that she will come to embrace it as her only hope for salvation. The seeds have been planted and are beginning to bear fruit. This was my favorite gift this Christmas. Thank you, Jesus, for letting me see your work in my child on the day we celebrate you coming to earth as an infant, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in weakness and fragility in a manger.

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