December 22, 2011

The Christmas Creche

My family thinks I’m silly.

When I set up the Creche in early December, only the shepherds and the animals appear. A few days before Christmas, Mary and Joseph arrive, and on Christmas morning, the baby Jesus appears.

The three kings? They’re off on a high shelf, several rooms away, joining the others on Epiphany.

Acting out the Christmas story through the crèche is one of the ways I keep myself focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Earlier today, I spent a few moments today reflecting on this offering from Bishop Steven Charleston:

The Christmas creche, the sentimental scene, the familiar cast of characters, all in their places, on table tops and front lawns, all across America. I never pass one without a smile. This all too familiar image is a metaphor for my spiritual life. Sometimes I have been a shepherd, feeling called but not knowing why. Sometimes a wise man, surprising myself by saying something smart. Sometimes Joseph, silent but steady in the bigger story. Sometimes Mary, wanting to mother the world with unconditional love. Sometimes the camel, irascible in my convictions. Sometimes just the donkey, willing to carry the load. And once in a great while, I am that baby, that spark of holy hope, packed in straw, delivered by God, to a long waiting world.

Where do you see yourself in this familiar scene?