Tuesday, December 01, 2020

What’s in your nativity?

We’re entering the Christmas season and as we deck the halls with lights and garland, we also take out the porcelain nativity scene and place it high on a shelf, away from all the fingers that will peel the creche apart at the seams.  Our family has also had a small “Little People” nativity set for many years, placed in the middle of the chaos of our own little people, ready for play and familiarity.  This year as we unboxed our Christmas decorations we found only a few pieces of the set.  I’m sure the rest of the pieces are together, somewhere, along with all of the Rudolph play set that is also missing.  We still left the stable up in the play area, and our kids quickly familiarized themselves with it again. 

I loved hearing Harper (5) tell Silas (2) that “that is where Jesus was born, and this (holding up the character) is Mary.  She’s been in my bedroom ALL YEAR!”  She went off to play, and I came back to the room a few minutes later.  This is the scene I found Silas playing out, complete with his thousand words an hour that he needs to get out.

Jesus has been located.  Not baby Jesus, mind you, but Jesus as an adult. 

Mary is praying on the roof top.  With Santa.  Maybe she’s helping him with his deliveries?

There are 2 dogs visiting the manger scene.  Silas loves dogs, so it only seems appropriate. 

I couldn’t get the scoop on Lightning McQueen and why he was in the manger, but really, that got me thinking.

As adults, what is in our own nativity?  When we build up the framework for our own Christmas story, what do we put inside the stable?  Is the Stable empty, only a few items left inside, unrelated to Christmas itself but more about our own interests?  Is Jesus on the outside, looking in, interacting with the fictitious idea of a gift giver from afar? (For what it’s worth, as a family we celebrate Jesus’s birthday with Santa bringing each child a gift as he, too, celebrates the Christ child!)  Has the baby been lost? Misplaced, maybe?  Are the wise men who seek him too far to be found?  Does our story of Christmas center around the Jesus-baby-turned-Jesus-adult and His sacrifice coming to the earth for our salvation?  

Today the play of my 2 year old challenged me to study my nativity.  

This Christmas I’m going to enjoy the Santa, adult Jesus, and Mary conversations on the rooftop of the stable told by my imaginative 2 year old, and I’m going to focus my own heart on the Jesus-baby turned Jesus-adult in my own nativity safe on the shelf where Silas can see it and copy it in his play, but where the story won’t be changed.  Jesus will stay at the center. 

(PS: I was able to purchase another kids’ nativity set on friday, so we can recover the story of Christ’s birth in our children’s play and learning as well.  Santa and adult-Jesus are, of course, invited to come visit as often as their appearance is brought about, though).

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