Advent Reflection – Nov. 29, 2016, Reading –Isaiah 11: 1 – 10, Ps 72, Lk 10:21-24
Reflection by Debbie Walling
Since I was a little girl, I have always loved the Christmas season. There truly is magic in the air. Decorating the house was a big part of my family’s tradition, and although most of it was a group effort, one special task became my own personal tradition….
As my mom baked cookies in the kitchen, I got to set up our small Nativity under the Christmas tree. First I carefully unwrapped the figures and placed them in their proper places – the shepherds and sheep, Mary, Joseph, the donkey, the three wise men. Next I unwrapped the small barn itself. It was a cardboard rendition that had been painted to look like the place from so many years ago in Bethlehem. It even had straw on the roof. I placed Jesus’ manger and the animals around it. One of the animals was a cow that was lying down. Long before my time, its front legs had been broken off. I had once taken a brown marker to match the white clay to its coat’s color, but deep down I knew Jesus didn’t mind that it was broken.
Once all were in place, I took the angel and began to tell the story of the birth of Christ. Sometimes my mom would come in to listen, but many times I told it to myself. The angel’s first job was to tell Mary of the baby she was to bring into the world. The angel then flew to the star cut out on the manger scene, backlit by a yellow bulb, so she could watch over all. Next Mary and Joseph rode the donkey to Bethlehem, and finding no room anywhere, went to the stable. There, surrounded by God’s love and the animals, the Son of God was born. The angel flew to tell the shepherds and the wise men, who then journeyed to see this amazing miracle. All were welcomed to see the baby. In those magical hours, all were equal – all were children of God. It didn’t matter if you were broken or what your station in life was, Christ was a living reminder of God’s love.
It has been many years since I have told the story, but I have never forgotten the lessons and the love. We are all children in God’s eyes; we are all broken in some way. Yet God loves us equally and unconditionally.
Thank you for the gift of memories; they are wonderful treasures. But most of all, thank you for loving us enough to send your only son in human form, so that He might better understand the human condition and give us life everlasting. I believe that through your guidance the lion will lie down with the lamb and there will be peace. The broken will be made whole, and if we see with our hearts, we are all equal and beautiful. Help us to trust and believe with the vulnerability of a child that you guide us and watch over us, a beacon of light in the darkness, just like the angel in my old manger scene. I love you, God. Amen.