There’d been some confusion at our manger all December, as manger members disappeared for days at a time. There’d be Mary, baby Jesus and a lamb. But no Joseph. Then Joseph would show up and the shepherd would be off doing whatever…wherever. Only the lamb was still there.
That all three of our lost-in-route wise men showed up on Christmas morning was a household miracle. That they’d recruited our Santa soap dispenser and were all kneeling before baby Jesus on the corner of the coffee table seemed strangely appropriate.
Only I’m not sure why.
I am sure, though, that we wanted our kids to know the story behind Mary. Behind Joseph. Behind the baby sleepin’ in the straw. Behind the wise men and their fancy boxes. All of it. Which was why, before we tore the wrapping off a single present, we coraled our manger pieces…
took inventory on who was here and who wasn’t…
and began reading the Christmas story from the Bible in Luke chapter 2.
As she heard their names, our daughter picked up Joseph and Mary and placed them in the stable.
Baby Jesus, too.
Our son did the same with our less breakable version.
Then, as I continued reading…little hands added more pieces.
Only here the shepherd’s a bit early…
’cause, per the story, the angel was still frightening them in the fields while they watched their sheep.
Only this is the only angel we have left.
Not so, uh, frightening.
Still…our shepherd hastened himself and his lone lamb to Bethlehem to see this King that had been born.
The same thing happened over here. Except that Mary and Joseph seemed to be on the look-out for the shepherds, especially since the sheep were already there.
And even though there wasn’t mention of the wise men yet, it was too hard to resist giving them a spot beside Baby Jesus and his blue binky.
Which was when our daughter suggested we just jump ahead and pretend that Jesus was two or three years old now, so that we could put the wise men somewhere.
And so we did.
Here’s the final gathering on our carpet.
Looking peaceful, even.
Which, if there were nothing wrapped and stacked under the tree, would be enough.
God’s peace, that is…