It was a joyous yet emotionally intense day that Mom and Dad finally decided to tell their rather rambunctious four-year-old son the good news of the coming birth of another child into their family. After all, little Joshua liked being the centre of attention, and was quite the social spark at school, church and family gatherings.
The birth of a baby girl came soon enough to the active family. Their lives changed forever. No longer were they three. Another human being was ushered into their home, and a nursery room already prepared at the end of the hallway.
Mom and Dad were a little concerned about how Joshua would react to having a baby sister — someone else in the family who would vie for parental attention. But the first few days after Mom and Daughter returned home from the hospital proved a relatively easy transition for Joshua, who welcomed his sister with endless requests to hold her and play with her.
“Be careful,” Mom’s mantra of advice to Joshua, “she’s just a few days old and we can’t be rough with her.” She repeated this instruction over and over again those first days.
Late one night Mom and Dad heard footsteps down the hallway and into the nursery. Dad was on duty, so he quickly got out of bed and followed Joshua into his sister’s room. When he poked his head to see what Joshua was up to, Dad was a little startled:
Joshua was practically inside the crib with little baby sister, his body hanging over the railing and his legs dangling over the top.
“Joshua! What are you doing?!” whispered Dad as loudly as a whisper can be. “Don’t wake up your sister!”
“Shhhh!” Joshua replied, “I am listening to what my baby sister remembers about God.”
The season of Advent gives us an opportunity to return to an awareness that God is coming to us, always. Jesus’ birth represents a truth about our lives: before we were born, we were united with God; when we were born we began a life journey that will eventually reunite us with God after our death. Honour the babies! For they have just come from seeing God face to face! They may just have something to tell us about God. This Advent may be a good time to practice simply listening in our prayer with God and to each other.