…and what about that manger scene..?

Our small nativity scene became part of our Christmas decorating tradition only recently. Lea always wanted one, I always failed to respond to the hints she dropped.
Finally I was in the right place at the right time – and I found a cute little set –
An angel, thee wise men, Mary, Joseph, Jesus, one cow, one sheep. A cozy little moss-covered shed. Very nice.
But from the beginning, this set was less than perfect
– I opened it to discover, two cows, no angel –
not as advertised, but that was not a problem for me,
there is no doubt about what it is, with or without the angel.
So, perfect or not, it took its place in our Christmas decorating program
– always arranged just so,
always in a prominent place in the living room –
A vision in offshore ceramics of the first Christmas.
but there came a time when, for just one season,
that  the scene was differently arranged.
Several Christmases ago, we found ourselves
with a toddler in the house,
and for that wonderful season,
it was anything goes in Bethlehem.

The wise men rode in a fire truck.
The cow slid down the manger roof,
The sheep frequently stood in the manger.
Mary spent days behind the couch.
it was not the perfect picture of Christmas peace and bliss,
but for one thing.
Jesus was always there.

Do you really think that the first Christmas was a perfect picnic?
All the animals minding their manners;
 the shepherds scrubbed and shining.

 Those three kings, once they arrived,
 had spent a long time wandering about, looking for the child;I’m sure their appearance was less than splendid.
 But Christ was there, just the same.
Emmanuel – God with us.
With us in our less than perfect existence.
With us at our point of need,
With us while the sheep stroll in and out of the bam,
        as the shepherds run screaming through the streets
                    about seeing sights in the night sky.

Tonight I invite you to take some of the peace and quiet out of your manger scene, whether yours is made of ceramics  and sits on your coffee table,
    or if it is just an image you carry in your mind.
Mix it up a little, make it real.
 Because it is to real life that God came in Jesus the Christ
– to our ordinary mixed up, cow-on-the-roof,
    Mary behind the couch, lives.
Ours is a saviour for all time –
for good time, bad time, and all the times in-between.
Rejoice that God came to our humble chaos
    Rejoice in the gift so ordinary – so like us.
Rejoice in Christ who came this night –
to bring us peace, and truth, and life.

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