It was a simple manger scene. Nothing
like the pricey nativities that are available today. Mom purchased it at a
dime store with her babysitting money when she was 14 years old.
said Christmas at our house more than that dime-store manger scene.
My mother treasured it. She told us to leave it alone. But my
brothers and I fought over it. Each of us wanted to be the first
one to set up the characters inside the little stable placed on
the green felt fabric that Mom laid out. As a result of our fighting,
Dad had to superglue Mary and Joseph back together on more than
Mom would usually end the fights
by declaring that she would be the one to set it up. We’d comply —
until she left the room. Then we’d get busy rearranging. I loved to
set up the characters for a Bethlehem parade. My brothers always put the angel
on top, where he was sure to fall off before the day was out. That poor manger
scene must have been rearranged at least a hundred times each Christmas season.
For my first Christmas as a married
adult, I bought my own manger scene. And when my first daughter came along,
her grandma gave her a childproof, plastic nativity to play with — at
age 5, she still insists the main characters are Mary and Moses. My beloved
manger scene is displayed far out of her reach. (Mom, I learned from your
I no longer have the annual Bethlehem
parade with the characters, but I treasure it as my mother treasures hers.
Many Christian homes display a
manger scene. But it’s easy for them to get lost in a room full of Christmas
trees, decorations and presents. The Baby in the manger represents all that
Christmas is. Yet even some Christians relegate Him to second place next to
the plastic glowing Santa Claus.
May the manger scene take first
place among your Christmas decorations this year — and may the Baby
of the nativity take first place in your heart. (I think that may be why Mom
always turned her head and let us play with Baby Jesus as much as we wanted.)