It was silly of me to only wear a raincoat with the temperature near freezing, but the laughter between Molly and I kept me warm as we scurried from store to store. We pulled up to our final destination of the evening--a thrift store--and hoped to find a little table for her room in this last place. We giggled about our shopping adventure thus far: how the lady at Michaels placed her tiny Yorkshire terrier on the floor for us to see and he took off on her and we watched her chase him around the store. We laughed at how we kept bumping into people we knew. We counted them up, even the old childhood friend of mine, and they numbered seven--in two hours. We remembered the man in Walmart who scared us at first with all his chatter, but we realized that he was merely bumbling in sharing his Christian faith. And, Molly made fun of the way the photo machine worked every time she touched it, but my fingers tapping the screen paused it every time. However, the thing that left us in stitches was our second-hand store incident centred around a Christmas decoration.
On our way to the furniture section, a lovely nativity set in a basket caught my eye. We own about five sets since I like to make our home decorated in the real reason for the season, plus, I always wanted the kids to play with the scene without worry of them breaking my delicate ones. I called my daughter over to enjoy this amazing find with me--and at the low price of $6.99! I held up each hand painted ceramic figure and admired. It was so unique! The little donkey had a small shepherd hiding behind him and the camels looked real. I loved it. Suddenly, a woman moved in close behind me and exclaimed, "Oh that's beautiful!" in a thick accent. She nearly hung over my shoulder and continued commenting about the treasure, clearly desiring it. I smiled and agreed, then she walked off.
As I gently moved each piece around, I noticed that Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus were missing. "Aw, too bad. The most important ones aren't here." I mumbled to Molly that I now knew why it was that cheap. I returned the basket to the shelf and the woman stepped up to us again. I told her there were missing pieces, which she didn't seem to mind. She went to lift a wise man and I informed her that the most important person was absent from the group. Just then, she understood. She also replaced it and walked away.
A few minutes later, we heard a man with the same accent calling to his wife that he'd found a nativity set. By now, she was a little ways from him. She tried to tell him she'd already seen it. He called to her again assuring her she'd like it. Molly and I just looked at each other and began to chuckle as they comically yelled back and forth about the illusory gem. Finally, the woman declared across the drapery rack, "The Baby Jesus is missing! That's the most important piece!"
I had spoken the very same words to her but it was her declaration that struck me: if the Baby Jesus is missing, what's the point? All the fun, fury and fellowship of Christmas is nothing without the connection to the One who made the season real in the first place. No wonder there are stresses, obligations, debt and depression in December. If we could remove all the traditions, all the shopping, all the commercialism, and bring it back to the manger, there would be so much more peace in our hearts. Not that there's anything wrong with celebrating this beautiful holiday, but Jesus can't be removed or we've lost the Origin of all Love. Without Him, we are only play-acting at this holiday thing. I encourage you to "find" the Baby this Christmas. Make Him the centre and see how much clearer the world becomes.
Some are broken from much kid-use :)
Some are in stables they did not originate from when I bought them.
Almost all are gifts or second-hand.
The kids like to mix and match :)
I like the ones that actually look like the area of the world they are from.
He teaches her.
She finds all the Baby Jesus figures.
She claps at the fun of it all :)
Learning the story at three years old will always help her to know when Jesus is missing.