34: The Christmas Kidnapping

34: The Christmas Kidnapping

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: It's Christmas!

The Christmas Kidnapping

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.

~Franklin P. Jones

It was Christmas Eve and we were in the back of church with the rest of the well-dressed, slightly depressed parents whose offspring were in various states of unholy discontent. My youngest, an eighteen-month-old terror in pink tights, was slowly sucking the Christmas spirit right out of me. Around and around the poinsettias I chased her, dodging the other kids, blocking the exits and praying for patience.

Eventually she stopped in front of the life-size nativity scene.

“Baby!” she exclaimed.

“Yes, baby,” I answered wearily.

As she stared at the statues, I wondered why we bothered coming. Church was a challenge on a regular Sunday and this holiday hoopla was impossible. I didn’t hear a word of the sermon, my husband had that frown line in his forehead and my older children kept asking when they could open presents. I felt lousy.

Then, I heard a squeal.

Turning, I saw my youngest running full tilt with the Baby Jesus statue wrapped in her arms. I looked at the empty manger. I looked at my daughter — a golden halo peeking over her shoulder, delicate toes mere inches from the ground. My kid just kidnapped Jesus!

“Baby! Baby! Baby!”

Now when one’s toddler is scampering across the room with a fragile ceramic statue of the infant savior you do not simply yell for her to stop. I didn’t want her to drop it, nor did I want her to trip and fall on it. So I scurried after, politely pleading for her to give me the baby.

It was a holy hostage negotiation.

Parents parted to let us pass. My face was thirty shades of Christmas red. Finally I cornered her and safely recovered the Baby Jesus.

“Mama! Baby!”

I looked at the statue now cradled in my arms, then I looked at the other parents. Most were smiling; a few chuckled. Suddenly it dawned on me. Wasn’t that the reason I was there? To gather the Baby Jesus into my heart and take off running?

I may not have heard the sermon but thanks to my Christmas kidnapper, I got the message.

~Nicole L.V. Mullis

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