Sunday, November 27, 2005

Where's Your God Now?

We set up our Christmas decorations yesterday and today. Constructed the tree, put the ornaments around, decorated other parts of the house. Today I put outside lights up and those are now twinkling merrily in the November darkness.

All of this invokes memories of my childhood, but I would rather remind you of other Christmas miracles from years past.

But seriously . . . one of the traditions when I was a kid was putting together the nativity set (the manger, baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the angel, the three wisemen, etc.).

Over the years, I would try to be as literal as possible, in that I would place the wisemen far away from the rest of the manger grouping and advance them across the house as time progressed.

Yesterday I realized that we had, for the first time, a good place to put our manger scene. Last year, we bought a small shelving unit to sit at the end of our entrance foyer, under the picture that we bought on our honeymoon in Charleston. This three shelf rectangular piece fits perfectly in the wall space that divides the hallway from kitchen. Normally, in more secular times, we have a plant, some pictures of Sarah and Grace, and diapers, wipes, diaper bags, etc. all residing there on different levels.

But now, it is the designated spot to commemorate the birth of our lord and savior--as depicted in miniature, figurine form. (This is also good because it gives us a place to drape the holiday-colored table runner that Mom quilted for us years ago. So now Baby Jesus is birthed on a south Georgia table runner--and I wouldn't have it any other way.

But a word on the nativity set itself. It was given to us by my parents and they bought it while they were living in Brazil for six months several years ago. So, the Holy Family and everyone else involved in the Blessed Event has an ethnic cast--which suits me just fine, thanks.

So, this is great. Jesus finally has an honored place in the scheme of holiday decorations, right? Wrong! Because, as perfect as this place is, as perfectly positioned as it is to remind our every guest that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season," it is also at the perfect height for our girls, who would like nothing better than to play with each and every figurine. Yesterday Sarah immediately had Baby Jesus flying through the house like Neo on his way to defeat Agent Smith.

I remain steadfast, however. I want the Nativity to stay there. I don't have a better place to put it right now. I'll try to keep an eye on the kids and hope that the better angels of their natures come to the fore when they are tempted to play.

I just hope we don't lose our God in the name of Better Housekeeping.


Anonymous said...

I have my doubts about the Holy Family not becoming LOST under some remote bedspread one floor above where they now reside. If the rocking reindeer fiasco is any indication, the Others may not treat the Family with the honor and respect they deserve. I fear that if they make it off their island, one or more may come back sans halo! the interests of family unity and in the spirit of Christmas... I'll do my best to have faith in our girls.

Sven Golly said...

At the risk of seeming alarmist, y'all are displaying dangerously Unitarian (gasp!) tendencies, mixing the secular and the sacred and all that. I like the Nativity Theater idea, too, with figures advancing day by day on the stable, flying around the house, etc. Let the adventure continue!

Anonymous said...

I don't know why I don't get on your site more often, because I always enjoy it so much. Glad to know the table runner is being put to use, and I was always glad when you kids played with the manger scene figures, as long as you weren't throwing them at each other.

Sven Golly said...

To briefly unpack the unitarian reference, quoting the Seven Principles:
"We believe in the freedom of religious expression...the toleration of religious ideas...the authority of reason and conscience...the never-ending search for truth...the unity of experience...the worth and dignity of each human being....the ethical application of religion."