For several weeks, stores and radio stations have been playing Christmas music. I find myself humming or singing along, and I often get phrases stuck in my head for days at a time. One phrase that has really jumped out at me this year is from Away in a Manger.
Away in a manger,
no crib for a bed,
the little Lord Jesus
laid down his sweet head.
“No crib for a bed.” We know what that means. We know that there was no room for Mary and Joseph in an inn or home in Bethlehem, so when Jesus was born he was placed in a manger. We don’t know if he would have had a crib had he been born somewhere else (and my quick Google search really wasn’t much help), but we do know that no matter where he was born that he needed a safe place to sleep. Mary placed Jesus in a manger to keep him safe and warm.
Two thousand years later, many things about infant care have changed, but babies still need a safe place to sleep. One of the things I love most about my job here at FUMC Hurst is that I get to help give babies that safe place.
In February 2018, FUMC Hurst became the third location in Tarrant County to serve as a distribution site for Baby Boxes. Baby Boxes are a program of Baby Box Co. Mothers participate in online sleep safety training and then take a brief quiz. Once they have completed the quiz, they are eligible to receive a Baby Box. The box can be mailed to them, but that costs about $10 and can take up to 8 weeks. The other option is to pick up a Baby Box at a distribution site, which is free and immediate. The entire program is free for mothers/babies and for us as a distribution site. We just have to provide the space and the ability to assemble and distribute boxes.
As I write this blog post, I’m sitting in front of a towering stack of Baby Boxes. Every time I look at the Baby Boxes, I get a little rush of excitement because I know that each box that we give away is one more baby who will have a safe place to sleep. In the past 10 months, we have given away just over 90 Baby Boxes, one approximately every three days. The demand seems to be increasing lately, and I’m confident we will pass 100 by the end of the year. 100 babies who have a safe place to sleep!
This year, as we sing about Jesus being placed in a manger, may we also say a prayer for all the mothers that will come through our doors looking for a safe place for their babies to sleep, just as Mary did so long ago.