Wednesday, December 15, 2010
A young child's question...
It was a particularly cold and blustery Christmas season. There was a good 5-6 inches of snow on the ground but it was totally beautiful.
My parents lived on a corner street, as they still do. It was not uncommon for them to decorate for the Christmas season. In fact, it was not uncommon for them to ask me to help decorate outside. I am here to tell you, sometimes that was a very cold thing to do.
This particular season, I decided to buy my parents an early gift. I bought them a complete manger scene for the front of their house. The figures were about two to three foot in height but everyone was there. Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, camels, and the whole gang of Wise Men. Yep, everyone was present.
My Mother thought it to be the greatest present ever. In fact, they were the only house on the entire street that even had a manger scene. It really did look lovely among the bushes that were growing outside their home. The baby Jesus was of course placed in the middle of the bushes as of course he was the star of the show.
The figures all lit up and shown brightly from the road. I was truly proud that I was able to get this for my parents.
One evening, later in the week, my two children, my parents and I went out for the evening. As was custom, all the lights outside stayed on.
As we left, I took a gaze at the new manger. Something seemed wrong but I could not figure it out. I thought maybe the wind had shifted things around or something like it. We continued on our journey for the evening but a nagging feeling kept at me for the night and I mentioned it to my parents.
Upon returning, I went out front where the manger was placed and looked very carefully at it. Yes, there was Mary and Joseph. There was a sheep and wait...where was the baby Jesus? Oh and where was one of the Wise men?
I stared in disbelief. What, no Jesus? I called to my parents and told them he was missing. My children were there too and my son asked the most simplest of questions.
"Mom, who stole baby Jesus?"
I saw faint tears welling up in his eyes as he was only about 4 years old and could not understand why someone would do such a thing.
I certainly had no answer for him. I simply could not understand either.
We called the local police to report the theft, the kidnapping...what was it really? The police officer that arrived took our report and then stated that he thought what had occurred was an atrocity and if the person who did it was ever caught that he hoped they would rot in jail.
For the next few days after, I felt a sense of loss and could only think of my son's question. Did he really believe because this representation had been stolen from us that Jesus would not be present at Christmas?
I mulled those thoughts over for quite a long time. I then sat down with him and spoke with him as best as I could for a 4 year old to understand.
I told he and his sister this:
I do not know why someone would steal from us and steal something that represented someone precious to us. I hoped that by that person having baby Jesus, they would find happiness in their heart.
I went on to say, that even though the "plastic Jesus" was taken, that did not mean that Jesus would not be born for all of us. That the real baby Jesus was born and came in to the world to be here among us and that we hold the real person always in our hearts. We do not need the plastic version to know that and no one can steal that from us.
I am sure that he did not understand what I really meant but he was satisfied with my answer. Me? I never forgot my answer either and held the real person in my heart forever more.
It is now 17 years later after this incident occurred. I remember it as if it was yesterday. A new manger was bought a year later. See the photo I took of it above.
The question remains have we let people steal the baby Jesus from our hearts or have we remember that he did indeed come here in the form of a child.
Peace and blessings to you all...
Written December 15, 2010