When my daughter was three, one of her favorite things to do at Christmastime was drape a dishtowel on her head, wrap Tuna Fish Binky Baby in a pastel plaid blanket and put on the Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas dvd. She would nod her head tenderly towards proxy-Baby Jesus in time to “Silent Night” whilst the Aussie kids on-screen performed a Nativity Play.
Then, when the dishtowel slipped one too many times and her peaceful re-enactment of the coming of the Christ Child was in danger of becoming…er…slightly less peaceful, we would pile in the car (Geesh, I love that car! Still waiting for your call, Honda…) and drive around looking at Christmas lights while she spied with her little eye every. single. one. of the few-and-far-between manger scenes we could find.
On those drives, Sissy was in it to win it. So even if they were half buried in snow and faded by the weather, whenever we came upon one, the little call from the back seat would go up, “STOP! There’s a MANGER!!!” And we would have to gaze at it in wonder and awe for many, many minutes while waving at the cars behind us to Go Around! There in the night, the snow piled high on the manger roof, the softly shining light enclosed the little family in their own world. We would look our fill at them while the Happy Couple and Newborn looked lovingly at each other. If there were donkeys or cows involved, that was a bonus. Double points for sheep.
[As a side note, spellcheck wants to keep changing ‘manger’ to ‘manager’. Which is weird because that’s exactly what I yell when I’m looking for a job, “STOP! There’s a MANAGER!!!” Whereupon Hubby dutifully stops the car so I can gaze at the manager. After a while the manager hustles off down the street while darting worried glances over his shoulder. I don’t think this job search technique is working.]
But on the manger front, all these years later, the call still goes up from the back seat (albeit in an ironic tween sort of way), “STOP! There’s a MANGER!!!”
And even though the kids may not realize how, in that call, they are invoking everything of importance about the season, the call still goes up. The sentiment remains the same: Jesus is born again into the world. It’s our joy to witness and welcome Him as if it were the very first time.
So, if there’s one wish I had for you this season, it would be for you to rediscover your child-like wonder and awe as you remember to STOP! There’s a MANGER!!! Dishtowel optional.
(Well, and if you’re looking for a job, I also wish you a manager. But please don’t be all creepy and stalkerish about it; that’s not gonna work.)
Merry Christmas To All and To All a Good Night!