Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A reminder.

Ten hours into our recent cross-country trip to move my mother-in-law to Mississippi, the little car was getting a bit cramped and the setting sun was making us yawn just a wee bit. We needed to push through the next few miles -- since Dad and Mason in the U-Haul ahead of us showed no interest in slowing down.

So we did what any former camp-counselor-turned-Mommy-of-four does on a too-long road trip the week of Thanksgiving....we started singing Christmas Carols at the top of our lungs.

We crossed into Texas right in the middle of Away in the Manger. And as we took in a collective breath, we each stopped short and said "Oooh, what is that smell?" Benjamin was adamant that it was horses. Cate agreed. But Claire, ever the equestrian, shook her head. "No," she said. "That isn't horses. That smell is from cows."


How in the world could she tell a difference?

But just about then, the lights illuminated a cattle ranch on our right -- and hundreds of cows right at the edge of the road.

I was ready to uh, praise her skilled nasal passages when a much more awing thought occurred to me.

That's it. That's the smell that greeted our King.

We had JUST been singing Away in the Manger. But were we listening to our own voices. Had the words become JUST a song to while away the miles in the car?

That smell was the welcome the world gave our savior. Our Lord was born next to the cattle. Never before had the words come to life as they did that night in that little car, somewhere in Texas. We started singing again. We just couldn't stop -- so in awe were we of the gift God had just given us by reminding us of the greatest gift of all.


Away in a manger, no crib for a bed.
The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky, looked down where he lay.
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

There is no greater blessing.