In our home, one Christmas decoration remains on display all year long. My for-real Christmas story began in my younger years as a mom when clouds of tasks threatened the true meaning of Christmas.
I walked down the hallway for the hundredth time, picking up a sock here and a stray school book there. I was trying to get ready for Christmas. But with five young children and Christmas adrenaline building in their little bodies, my requests to keep the house somewhat picked up went unheard. I asked them very nicely not to touch the Christmas decorations. “They were to look at and not to touch,”
That request also went unheard. It always seems like there are a thousand things on a mother’s Christmas “to do” list. And I was no different. I had my vision of what Christmas was supposed to look like in my mind, and I was bent on making it happen.
I had arranged our porcelain nativity scene in perfect dramatic form; you know, fanned out like all the characters were on a stage or a Hallmark Christmas card. However, each time I walked down the hall, the nativity scene caught my eye because someone had rearranged it. Instead of fanned out, all the porcelain figures were huddled around the manger and the baby Jesus figurine.
You could not even see the other figurines’ faces! The new arrangement looked more like a football team in a huddle receiving the next play. After fixing the nativity scene for the third time, I called out, “Whoever is playing with the nativity scene, please stop. I’m tired of fixing it.” Christopher, our six-year-old stopped his play and ran over to the nativity scene. “No mom, I had it perfect. You have to have Jesus in the center or it’s just not Christmas.”
I stopped dead in my tracks. In a split second, I thought about how awestruck the shepherds, Mary, and Joseph must have been that night. They would have gathered around the manger just as Christopher had depicted. I also thought about how all my Christmas “to dos” have clouded the reason I celebrate Christmas. I had moved Jesus from the center of our family’s celebration and replaced it with my endless list of tasks.
I looked at our wide-eyed child who had faith to see the true meaning of Christmas when his mom did not. I said, “Christopher, you are right, Jesus does have to be in the center.”
For the last twenty years, every day of the year, a white porcelain nativity is on display in our home. Jesus is in the center and the rest of the figurines are huddle around in awe-struck wonder.
I smile every time I see it.
Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours!