Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christmas Creche

Posted by Terry McNichols

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories and I post it here again as Christmas approaches.  

One of my regrets in life is that my husband and I simply did not manage to have a lot of traditions in our home that carried on from year to year. I’m not exactly sure why this happened, but we just didn’t seem to have very many traditions that stuck. We tried getting our Christmas tree together a few times, had birthday parties for Jesus, opened presents at night, in the morning, collected ornaments -- some years! In fact, when I recently asked my daughter what we should have to eat on Christmas Eve, she stated that our family “tradition” was to have something different every year. That’s one way of reframing it!

One thing we did have, however, was a Christmas crèche. When Ken and I were first married, we bought a complete crèche scene and painstakingly painted and antiqued every piece. We still have all the pieces, minus one chip out of the donkey’s ear, knocked off the shelf by the family cat. We never did find that missing ear and finally decided that the crèche was just perfect without it!

As our children grew, however, the crèche took on “other” meanings during the Christmas season. Our kids had a lot of fun changing the scene. One year the shepherds and wise men formed a rock band, complete with little guitars and drums. Another year, Sylvester the Cat would show up in the scene. Or various animals would roam the stage. Or the smurfs. Or whatever action figures happened to be in vogue at the time. Our kids recreated life, mostly in fun.

But one year, as we were waiting to have our Christmas eve dinner, we got a phone call from our middle son. He had pulled out into oncoming traffic, driving my car, and been hit by a car he hadn’t seen coming. He and his girlfriend were fine, but shaken up, and we interrupted our planned events to go and sort things out.

When we returned home, the crèche had mysteriously morphed into a new scene, complete with a wrecked toy car with shepherds and wise men all looking on with concern. Joseph was on the phone, Mary was sitting at the dinner table waiting for the family. And above it all, the angel hovered, having done her job, keeping everyone safe.

Today the crèche sits, undisturbed by the hands of children, awaiting the next generation’s take on the meaning of Christmas. And, after a half hour search in my completely disorganized photo storage system, I found the picture! If you look closely, you can even see the missing donkey ear.

Last year I had my 2-1/2-year-old grandson, Caleb,visiting and he and I set up my Playmobile creche scene. It has a cardboard backing with a stable and door. We set up the camel, the wise men, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the angel. I was waiting for Caleb to begin acting out the story of Christmas. Caleb picked up a shepherd and resolutely walked him over to the stable door. "TRICK OR TREAT!" he yelled!

Guess we've got a little way to go til he gets the story down!

(Photo by mharrsch, shared via Flickr)


Trudy said...

That's a great post today. Out of the mouths of babes. Trudy

Linda said...

The big laugh at our Christmas Eve tonight was when one of my great nephews,Leon age 6,got up to pick out his white elephant gift. He stood there looking very puzzled and said "Where's the Lamborghini?"