Nativity

5 12 2007

      I think I have a living nativity.

      It’s actually made out of china.  I bought it at an After-Christmas Sale at some store in Mayfair for $15.00.  The box didn’t say that it should move.  But it does.
      The nativity sits on the polished wooden top of the wardrobe in my entryway.  There’s a mirror behind it, and a vase full of greenery that arches over the figures’ heads.  An angel stands behind Mary as she stoops over the manger.  Joseph holds a lantern, the shepherd holds a lamb.  There are three wise men, a camel that only comes up to their knees and would be useless as transportation for anything larger than a lap dog, a cow, and a sheep.
         I look at the nativity any time I walk in our out of the living room or the front door.  I like the contrasts of the china on the gleaming wood.  But a few days after I set it up, I began to notice something.  The tiny red cardinal I put in the greenery flew down to the top of the vase to look at Jesus.  Then the cow came to lay by the manger.  A wise man came closer and stood by Joseph. 
        I gave a sigh of frustration, put everyone back, and issued an edict that no one dissarange the nativity.
        The next day, the angel had moved closer to Mary and Mary had turned to the manger.  Perhaps they were changing a diaper.  I moved them back. 
        The next visitor was the sheep.  It actually came up and kissed the baby.  It was an incredibly sweet scene, but for form’s sake, I yelled at the children.   They vehemently denied all knowledge of nativity nonsense.  They looked at me with wide innocent eyes.  “We wouldn’t touch it, Mom,” they all said earnestly, “You told us not to!”
         The next time I noticed it, all three wise men were together and conferring about something.  I decided to leave them alone and not worry about it.
        There were several visitors to the manger over the next couple of days.  A shepherd knelt in adoration for hours.  Each wise man took a turn presenting their gifts.  The camel crossed the wardrobe to sneer at the sheep.  The cow lay adoringly at the angel’s feet.
        Then when I took out the trash this evening I stopped in horror.  The manger was empty.  I knew it!  I knew if they kept messing with it they’d end up breaking something!  Why did it have to be the best piece of all, the most important piece?  What’s a nativity without Jesus?  And he was such a cute one, laying and kicking the cloths off his hands and feet.
         Then I looked again.  Jesus was balanced in Mary’s arms, laughing and pushing his little feet against her knees.  I’ve held my own babies that way many times.  They push so strong and gurgle so happily, delighted by their own strength.
         He looked happier there than when he was lying all alone in the manger being adored, so I left him.

       Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.

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2 responses

5 12 2007
candress

I’ll bet that when they put the sale price on that nativity set they had no idea how special it was. Or maybe it wasn’t all that special in the store. It just got special when you put it on your wardrobe.
Yep, that’s what I believe.

9 12 2007
Grandma Doris

I finally got “on-line” today, Sunday, the day before our departure! I was so glad to finally get back to yuor blog! I still have the tiny wooden nativity set that I always put out for the children. One of the sheep stands on his hindfeet and sniffs the grass. I think there’s a camel that used to stand, but is forever lying — revereently, of course. As you said earlier — the blessings often arrive through a child’s eyes. The set that I made for my parents, and now sits in my livingroom “lost the baby Jesus” too. My mother called and said that Jesus was missing and could I make another? I said I’d try if she would send along the rest of the sett, so that the new “Babe”
would match. She wrote later and said that Jesus had been there all the time. HIs bed was just tumbled upside-down. Guess that would preach?

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