Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Living Nativity

For years, we'd set up the Nativity, and with the exception of those camels (who fall easily), it would sit—perfectly—until we took it down in January. When our son was born, we wondered if he'd want to play with it. He didn't. It sat as perfectly still as ever.

Then came Elly. Ever since she was old enough to reach the Nativity set, she's played with it. Never mind that she has two sets of her own. She likes this one. I'll often find her standing next to it, moving the figures around as if they were her dolls.   

Lately I've noticed that every time I pass by, the figures are set up differently. One day, I saw Joseph far from the manger, hanging out with a shepherd. I asked, "What's up with this?"

Elly responded, "Oh, they're having a conversation."

The first two photos above were taken last night. The whole mess of figures were piled up—kind of like the pile of players that develops at the end of a sports game. "What happened?" I asked Elly.

"They are tickling Jesus."


"I don't know. Ask them."

Then she started playing with them again—you can see her hands at work in the second picture.

This morning when I woke up, every piece of the manger set had been placed in perfect Sunday-school pageant order. Elly did it. When questioned again about what happened, she said: "They wanted to be that way."

I've gotten attached to the surprise of my living Nativity. There's something just right about a Jesus, Mary, and Joseph who do more than just sit there, gathering dust. 

Something to think about this Christmas Eve!

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