Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Saturday, December 10, 2016

But where does the pig go?



This year, with little energy to spare, I’ve scaled back on Christmas festivities. I skipped my work Christmas party and will gladly stay home while my hubby attends his. Our big tree still sits in its box. The six Rubbermaid tubs of ornaments downstairs remain mostly full. Our house is not lit up outside. Gift shopping was done online from our living room. I plan to bake only one treat. (Lest I look like a complete Grinch, I did manage to set up an 18-inch tree, hang a wreath on each door, and dig out a Christmas tablecloth for the dining table.)

I’m fine with scaling back. I wanted to keep the focus on Jesus this year anyway. But how exactly does one do that? 

This might sound weird coming from someone who claims to follow Jesus Christ, but I’ve never owned an actual nativity scene. When our kids were little, they had a Fisher-Price farm set. We’d set it up like a nativity scene, dress the little people in scraps of fabric, and the “baby” in some fuzzy felt. The horse transformed into a donkey. We never felt sure where the pig might fit in, but the dog, chicken, and rooster? Why not? We added an angel candle who behaved perfectly. The children could tell the story and play with the characters as much as they wanted. While we read the story aloud from Luke 2 on Christmas morning, the kids took turns moving the people and animals into place.

Once the kids outgrew the farm set, we gave it away. Now I wish I’d found somewhere to store it. At the time, having grandchildren seemed a lifetime away. It’s crazy how fast that happens, though, isn’t it?

And until now, I’ve never invested in a “proper” nativity scene. Most of them look too religiousy and fancy for my liking, with their bright colors, gilded edges, and halos. I wanted something a little more down-to-earth.

So, this was the year. Yesterday I took myself to Heritage Book and Gift Shoppe and purchased this basic six-piece Willow Tree nativity set (I already had the two little angels you see here). I love it! And I think this old German wine crate makes a fine stable, don’t you? The set can be expanded many times over (hint, hint family!) with additional shepherds, animals, wise men, and angels. There is no pig.

I’m deeply grateful Jesus didn’t “scale back” his grace and mercy, but came here to save us. I hope my little nativity set helps us focus on the real reason for Christmas for many years to come. When I look at it, one thought prevails: Emmanuel. God with us.






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