(ROCKWALL, TX — December 24, 2018) I wonder what the characters in my manger scenes do while humans aren’t around. We came to understand such goings-on when our youngest grand child became best friends with Woody, the main character in Toy Story. All the toys in the story took on human qualities carrying on the life/death struggles common to man…jealousy, anger, fear, abandonment, rejection.
My largest scenes come from different parts of the world. One is made from the olive wood native to the Holy Land. The other comes from the hands of artisans in the Far East, made of sandalwood. I bought the olive wood in 1970 while touring Israel, and the sandalwood treasure was given to me by a friend who served in Hong Kong for a generation. Indeed, both are treasures.
But I also have camels made of walnut from India, a metal camel bank my Daddy found while pulling oil rig piping in West Texas. I have no idea how old it is. (I should take it to the Antiques Road Show!) Included in my collection are manger scenes from Guatemala, Jordan, Peru, Spain, Italy, and Ireland…all gifts from dear ones who know I collect.
When the lights are off and the tree is dark, I wonder what human qualities these pieces of wood, straw, adobe & porcelain take on. I wonder what their words might be to each other as they observe the colorful costumes or unusual faces. Would they be surprised to see that they are all telling the same story, just in different languages? Would they understand each other? Would they argue like humans as to what the angels really said to the shepherds? Would the Kings say, “We are from Yemen; no, we’re from Saudi Arabia or Iraq!”
Or would they just remind each other to keep showing up year after year praying that this year maybe someone would believe THIS REALLY HAPPENED! “The angels in that field in Bethlehem really blinded us with their brilliance enabling us to see.” The magi scholars would share that the long trip was more than worth trekking so far to actually see the fulfillment of the ancient words, ““I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A star shall shine out of Jacob; A scepter shall rise from Israel…” (Numbers 24:17), written a thousand years before the birth of Christ.
Right now, as I look at them, they have resumed their positions. Most are kneeling. I never noticed that even the camels, cattle and sheep have assumed the position of worship, making our song
come true…O Come Let Us Adore Him.
With tears rolling down my cheeks this morning singing, “O Come All Ye Faithful, joyful and triumphant,” it dawned on me that my precious Mother had joined the real Shepherds and Wise Men. Those unwashed sheep herders had joined the royal court of Magi along with all the Saints that have come along after them, each singing joyfully and triumphantly,
“Christ, the Lord.”
Most I know neither herd sheep nor don camels, but each of us have the privilege to set aside our human frailties of fear, anger, resentment, rejection & abandonment, climb inside that manger assuming the position of adoration, singing at the top of our lungs both joyfully & triumphantly,
“Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
O night divine, O night, O night divine.”
That’s a good word…good news of great joy!!!!!
By Paula Lively. Paula is a Volunteer Chaplain at Broadmoor Medical Lodge in Rockwall. She is a VERY retired RN who loves serving the residents at Broadmoor. She and her husband, Fred, have lived in Rockwall for 15 years.
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