Each year as we begin our holiday decorating something strange happens at our house. Low and behold, all of the baby Jesuses disappear. Like some sort of creepy psychopath I sequester the little babies in an undisclosed location. Believe it or not this tradition is not spawned from my inner “Dexter” but is instead born out of a theological conviction.
I use the absence of the Baby Jesus from the Nativity scene as a reminder of the fact that until Christmas day we are in a time of Advent. It can be difficult in our society to truly have a heart of waiting and expectancy. While we are in Advent our mindset should be in a place of desiring Jesus to come into the world. I have grown more and more intrigued by the Jim Shore figurine with Joseph leading a Do
nkey with a pregnant Mary upon it.
I remember the excitement and fear that seized me as the birth of my son, Colin, drew closer. Of course those feelings were even stronger for Sheila who would have to bear the pain and risk of birth. Nonetheless, I wish I could capture those feelings and sell them for the Advent season. Imagine what it would be like to wake up Christmas Day with the beaming joy of a new mother or father.
This is why the baby is missing. We are awaiting his Advent, his coming. The birth pangs have begun. All creation is moaning and writhing with the excruciating pain of birth that will soon give way to the Joy of new life.
So the other day as I was leaving the church building a group of Girl Scouts were coming in for a meeting. I found great joy in the fact that before the girls would come into the building they needed to get a closer look at the Nativity outside the front entrance. This is a new addition to our Advent traditions at Christ Presbyterian, but in a small way, to visitors and our preschool families it is a meaningful symbol. I have a feeling it leaves more questions than answers by that’s kind of the way that God works isn’t it.
I have also noticed some pre-school parents that use the “front” door have been detoured to the steps so the child can get a view of the baby…
Last weekend I noticed that baby Jesus was in his bed and I thought to myself that he shouldn’t be here yet. When I was growing up in NY my Dad had the responsibility of taking care of the baby until Christmas eve services. I find it has much more meaning for me this way. I see by the picture that the baby has been removed.
My mistake. Baby Jesus is still in his crib!!