I have a special nativity that my mother and her best friend purchased at an after Christmas sale in January 1971. That would've been just days after my first Christmas. It was made in Denmark and the little characters are so beautiful. Of course, when we were younger the beautiful and charming little characters were strictly off limits of our little chubby hands. My mom's friend has eight children and hers weren't so off limits. When she recently moved and downsized, she gave me her nativity. Me! She reasoned my mom had me and my sister-in-law and we could each have a sweet Danish nativity. What a special blessing!
This has become my hands on nativity that my children can play with. They can carry baby Jesus in the tiny pockets of their purses or have him drive a race car. This is just part of what makes Christmas time special. Immanuel. God with us. In a dump truck or in a bicycle basket. God with us. I think this is a great object lesson for a young child. Maybe even for a child at any age. God goes with us. Anywhere. Everywhere.
This Christmas I wrapped up that precious tiny baby Jesus and placed him under the tree. Christmas morning all our gifts were wrapped and waiting. We usually leave our "Santa" gifts unwrapped but this year all were wrapped just begging little hands to enjoy.
But before we tore into our gifts or uncovered treasure in our stockings, we read the Christmas story. I gave the children the box with the nativity in it and asked them to put it together as I read. Of course, they almost immediately began interrupting with, "Where's Jesus?" and "Where's baby Jesus hiding?"
I stopped reading as they were searching under everything for baby Jesus and asked them, "Do you think this is how the Jewish people felt before Jesus was born?" We talked about how they knew a king was coming but had no idea where to look or when to expect. We talked about the baby, the barn and the prophecies. It was a wonderful discussion. At the end of the Christmas story, I pulled out the tiny present and gave it to Palmer. We are calling it "The First Gift of Christmas."
As he placed Jesus in the manger, the children cheered. We finished reading the Bible and prayed thanking Jesus for being the ultimate gift of Christmas. The largest of gifts in the smallest of packages. The most costly of gifts in the most humble of packages. Immanuel. God with us.
In the beginning was the Word...and the Word was God...and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...and we saw his glory...full of grace and truth. John 1:1 & 14