Our Christmas Manger

Our church crèche is a lovely, serene, though almost crowded, scene. Mary and Joseph sit with Jesus in the stable. They are watched by shepherds, kings, sheep, cows and an angel floating overhead. I do wonder how Mary and Joseph felt giving birth in a barn. Besides the unsanitary conditions, I bet if felt kind of lonely. Even with their royal and heavenly visitors, there were no friends and family present—and what about the grandparents? How did they feel experiencing such a profound moment so far from their Nazareth home?

Perhaps this comes to mind because as the holidays get closer and the frantic activity subsides, my thoughts turn to people I miss at the holidays. With all my extended family in Colorado this is a familiar feeling, but it never goes away. I know that I am not alone in these thoughts. Others feel much more profound losses of loved ones who have passed away. Holidays are like that. Too bad the Angel who summoned the shepherds that first Christmas night cannot fly in all our loved ones to share our Christmas joy.

Holidays bring layers of emotions. Each moment another floats to the surface. Sort of like the miracle of a baby mixing with the smell of a wet sheep. It all exists together. And, Christmas testifies, in the midst of it all we may experience the presence of the Prince of Peace who brings God’s love regardless of who is in our barn with us. This weekend I will give thanks for loved ones near and far and celebrate the joy of God that transcends all our human thoughts and emotions. I may be projecting, but I think Mary and Joseph felt something similar.

May you and your loved ones have a blessed Christmas.

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