(This blog was written at Christmas 2 years ago, right after the birth of our beautiful Autumn Olivia. We celebrate her 2nd birthday tomorrow! How thankful I am, for this amazing child and for Jesus, the ultimate gift, and for many bonus gifts on top of it all. Share with me in this reacquaintance with the Jewish concept, “Dayenu.”)
This Christmas day I am overcome with gratitude. Our family has welcomed into this world a new child, Autumn Olivia Stitt. Born on a Monday, which according to the old poem means she is “fair of face,” and she certainly is. Perfectly innocent, absolutely loved, a testament to the goodness of God in giving us life, abundant life. It’s true that a baby changes everything.
Today we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus, the one who truly changed everything!
At church on Sunday I learned of the Hebrew liturgy and song called Dayenu, which means It would have been enough. The gist is that at Passover, as the story of God’s deliverance, miracles and provision is told, choruses of Dayenu are sung to God, acknowledging his extravagant goodness. It would have been enough if you had just sent judgment on the Egyptians for their mistreatment of us. It would have been enough if you had just spared our firstborn. It would have been enough if you had just taken us through the Red Sea. It would have been enough if you had just given us the Sabbath, or the manna to eat in the wilderness, or the Promised Land to claim for our own. And so on.
This is how I feel about how good God has been to me. It would have been enough that you rescued me from the foolishness of my youth. It would have been enough that you sent your Son to save me and give me the hope of eternal life. But you have given me so much more. Gifts and talents to share with others. Life in a nation where we are still free to pursue life to the full, work hard and build wealth, and enjoy the fruit of the land. Friends who are more than worthy to be called friends. Children who love and serve you. And now another generation of babies to love and train up in the Lord. And then, of course, dogs!
It is enough. It is more than enough. It is so much more than enough.
I’ll end with a hearty “Merry Christmas” and these words from “Nothing Else” by Cody Carnes:
I’m caught up in your presence, I just want to sit here at your feet
I’m caught up in this holy moment, I never want to leave.
I’m not here for blessing, Jesus you don’t owe me anything
More than anything that you can do, I just want you.
Dayenu. Jesus, you don’t owe me anything.