“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)
In my family one of our favorite activities during the Christmas season is unpacking all the Christmas treasures we have made and accumulated over the years. My most cherished decoration is the ceramic nativity set which I love to spread out on the sofa table so I can stand back and see how nice it looks. Last year as I began to put everything in its place, my five-year-old decided to help. I put the donkey at one end, she put it by the crèche. I placed the wise man at the other end, she replaced it in the center. Soon, she had all 15 pieces surrounding Baby Jesus, looking as if each one were crowding in to try to catch just a glimpse of the Christ Child.
As I started to “fix” the scene, I realized that her placement of the pieces reflected Christmas as it should be…all of us crowded around the stable transfixed by the sight of the baby gifted to us by God. It didn’t “look nice” when I stood back to view it, but standing back is not where we need to be at Christmas. My child’s arrangement stayed, a clumpy little mass of ceramic figures, serving as a symbol of where Christmas must be lived: right next to the manger.
Set up your nativity set, or find a picture of the stable scene. Study each character imagining the thoughts and feelings each one might have had as they stood in the barn looking at the Son of God.