Do you ever get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays? Spending too much money? Stressed with all the family? Not enough time to get everything done? Sometimes its good to take a few minutes and remember why this day is special to so many across the world.
Because of a child.
Please allow me to share a short story with you today. It does not solve all the world’s problems. It doesn’t buy the rest of your gifts, nor solve the seating issue at the Christmas table. But you’ll like it.
Every year my husband spends hours, even days embellishing our front yard with Christmas ornaments. Over the years he has collected enough unique decorations to have several little theme areas. His personal favorite manger scene, an old fashioned plastic set, that use giant light bulbs and light up to show now faded Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men, and Baby Jesus. These were passed down to him by my parents when they decided it was too darn cold in the snow to put up decorations. Each year Bob would build a lean-to covered with palm fronds trimmed from his sister’s tree and carefully place all the characters at center stage.
Every year people from all around drive down our street to look at the scenes. But not everyone admires the holiday spirit. One year someone knocked everything over, tangling and pulling all the cords creating a giant mess. And they stole Baby Jesus.
The next year Bob determined to put his decorations out again decided he wouldn’t let hate ruin his Christmas. But he couldn’t find a replacement for his Baby Jesus so the manger was left empty. We didn’t worry about it; there were still plenty of other things to look at in the yard.
Until the day a small girl about four or five walked down with her father. Like other children she was in awe of the lights, the giant Frosty…the penguins skating. But then she saw the manger scene. (Bob was working in the yard, fixing some broken bulbs and watched her.) The little girl tugged on daddy’s sleeve and whispered. After a short conversation the man approached Bob. He said his daughter wondered where Jesus was so Bob told him the story of the thieves and the man explained it to his daughter. After a few minutes they walked away.
But about ten minutes later they reappeared. Little girl with her favorite doll in hand. After some encouragement from her dad she caught Bob’s attention. She did not think the manger set was complete without a baby and offered her doll to lie in the manger until Christmas. What could my husband do? He had never had such a wonderful and generous offer. Of course. And her special doll stayed until it was time to take down the decorations.
In continuing years we still put a doll in the manger. We are reminded of the true meaning of Christmas.
Because of a child.