Crowding the manger

Writer Marcy Hires saw the Lordship of Jesus in a simple nativity scene. 
I pray you will see it this Christmas, too…


My husband thinks that every Nativity scene should be packaged with an authentic barn smell.  Shall we call it Eau de Stable?  He believes it would be a powerful testament to the love of the Father and the humility of the Son of God.

I think it’s a great idea.  Really I do.  But I still prefer a pristine kind of manger scene.  I am especially fond of ours.  The handcrafted pieces, made of sturdy pine, are simple figures of the most important characters in the Christmas story.

At our old house, this Nativity sat at the crossroads of household life, on a half wall that separated the kitchen from the living room.  It was a small display, but I hoped its central location would give it pre-eminence over the presents gathering under the Christmas tree.

But, as crossroads have a tendency to do, this junction in our home attracted a lot of traffic and a lot of clutter.  Sure enough, the detritus of daily life sifted down and landed around my precious exhibit.

I looked over one day to find stuff crowding Jesus and company.  So I took inventory: one toy monster truck, one shoehorn, one prayer list, one present, one stereo remote, one toy fighter jet, one Advent devotional book, one ballpoint pen, a bundle of Christmas cards and a bunch of coins.

The everything-has-a-deeper-meaning side of me was taken aback.  I knew it had to be a sign that we were too busy and our hectic lives had to be simplified.  The pragmatic mother part of me wanted to whisk all intruding items away from the Nativity and restore it to tidy perfection.

But maybe our family got the Nativity right that year, after all.  Work, play, worship, service and relationship were all represented in the items laid at the feet of Jesus.  And if He was so bothered by messes, why did He choose that smelly stable for the place of His birth?  Maybe I could put aside my own pretences of perfection and come to my Saviour, who is Nativity Scenegentle and humble in heart,” and find rest for my soul.

This year, watch what lands in your Nativity display.  Is there anything you need to add?  Maybe a cellphone or TV remote, a calendar or shopping list, your laptop or chequebook?  Whatever it may be, lay it at the feet of Jesus.  Then, with the quiet figures at the manger, stop, and find rest.

© 2011 Marcy Hires. This article originally appeared in the Dec 2011 issue
of Thriving Family. Posted here with the kind permission of the author.
Nativity set pictured above is available for purchase from Little Alouette.

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One thought on “Crowding the manger

  1. Ryan says:

    Well put…Thanks

    Like

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