Amarah's Corner: What Christmas is like for kids like me

What Christmas is like for kids like me:

A children’s helpline received 32,000-calls and emails last year from kids as young as five asking to be read bedtime stories because their parents were too drunk to put them to bed.

Some children call the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) so regularly counselors keep a pile of their favorite books by the phone.

A seven-year-old girl who called on Christmas Day while hiding from her drunk parents under her bed, asked to be told a story about her imaginary friend - a dog called Bruce.

NACOA also helped a five-year-old girl whose addict mom locked herself in the bathroom overnight and was found dead by paramedics.

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Wish I could tell these kids like me the real Christmas Story and that Jesus loves them:


Every year, about this time, Linus comes marching on stage with his trusty blanket and uses a passage from the Bible to help poor ol’ Charlie Brown understand what Christmas is really all about: “And she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger.”

Until recently, I had no idea how loaded those words were.

Meanwhile, an angel roars in over shepherds watching their sheep and announces, “I bring you good tidings of great joy ... “Today in the town of David (Bethlehem) a Savior has been born to you ... this will be a sign to you: you will find a babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

I doubt that Linus — or the guy writing this - had a clue about the bombshell in the manger. A stunning revelation that, for all my years going over the Christmas story, I had totally missed. Now, my discovery has made this most wonderful time of the year even more wonderful!

Bethlehem was about five-miles from Jerusalem where the great temple of God was, where, for centuries, people would bring a spotless lamb as a sacrifice for their sins.

It is believed that Christmas shepherds raised temple sheep destined to be the blood sacrifice for the sin of the bringer.

Here’s what I’m just learning after all these years. When a lamb was born, the temple shepherds would carefully examine him to see if he had any blemishes. If that lamb was without spot, they would ...wrap him in cloth-strips called swaddling and lay him in a stone manger, filled with straw.

Suddenly, heaven announces that the newborn Messiah would be found “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Imagine what that said to them. The newborn Messiah was, in a sense, the spotless lamb, to be sacrificed.

In the northern corner of the “little town of Bethlehem,” stood a tower, in Micah 4:8, called the “watchtower of the flock” - or Migdal Eder in Hebrew. It is thought that when a ewe of the temple flock was ready to give birth, the shepherds carried her to the cave beneath the tower. There, the sacred temple lambs were born.

This is where I fasten my seat belt. The angel told the shepherds that the way to identify the newborn Messiah would be a swaddled baby in a manger. I’ve always pictured those shepherds, sort of playing Christmas hide-and-seek, looking for a baby that fit the description.

The Messiah would be wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger - just like those spotless lambs, destined for sacrifice. It’s likely they went as fast as their sandals could go to Migdal Eder — to the cave where it’s believed the sacrificial lambs were born!

That baby in the hay was, indeed, the Lamb. God’s Lamb.

When John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the world, he didn’t say, “Look! The King of kings” or “the Son of God.” He said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

This is the breathtaking Plan that had been in God’s mind since before the world began — down to the swaddling clothes and the manger — lambs sacrificed to graphically tell us sin carries a penalty that can only be paid by death  — preparing the way for God’s Lamb, Who came to do all the dying for all the sinning of every one of us. For me. I can hardly write those words.

And the Bible tells us that one day we who belong to Jesus will join a hundred-million angels who are worshiping Him in heaven and who are singing the anthem of heaven, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!”

Heaven can’t get over the price God’s Lamb paid for us rebels, against Him. Neither can I.

“O come let us adore Him.”

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Thank you, Ms. Lynne Young!