Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Heavenly Peace

I have always loved nativity sets, having a special fondness for the one we owned at home when I was growing up in the 1950s. I remember well the cardboard stable nestled beneath the dining room buffet, offering easy access for performance of Christmas season rituals......

My two sisters and I convened before it every evening, propped up on elbows, to carefully negotiate the advancement of the wise men. It was important that their arrival precisely coincide with early January's Feast of the Epiphany. On that day, those travelers would join the other sheltered plastic figures, an ethereal gathering gently illuminated by a single Christmas tree bulb. That is where I wanted to be too. Right inside, with the kneeling virgin Mary, her handsome bearded husband, and the fuzzy little trio of sheep who cozied up and waited with them beside a childless crib that steadily became filled with softness and warmth.

During the week, we adhered religiously to what we were taught at school by Franciscan sisters. We kept track of our sacrifices and charitable acts and, at each completion, prepared a comfortable bed for the divine child by laying down a single strand of straw.

I wish I could say that I was attentive to the second part of those instructions. The good deeds were to be a guarded secret between myself and the holy infant. But more often than not, I boldly announced that I was on my way to enjoy the crib-side privilege I'd earned, inviting along anyone who wanted to watch in envy. Needless to say, the race to become the favorite big sister of baby Jesus occasionally escalated into heated, finger-pointing, not-so-friendly competition.

We sisters strayed from sainthood too, on of all days, the morning of his birth when he could finally lay down his sweet head on what was by then a very ample pillow. Instead, we raced downstairs to the magic of Christmas morning, extending him not a momentary glance or congratulatory thought. Only hours later, when gifts were no longer fresh and new, did we wade to his home through knee deep discarded paper to make things right for our newborn king.

      The nativity scene at my home parish, Saint Alphonsus

And he was always there, waiting for us. Somehow I don't think he ever really minded, though. He knew he was in a place where he was loved. And I have heard that his patience and forgiveness knows no boundaries. "Love is patient. Love is kind." His words.

Love waits and forgives and understands, and chooses to be born in a plastic trough filled to the brim with strands of straw by three imperfect sisters who, with all their hearts, believed in him then, and believe in him now.......


  1. I just love this story and the Nativity scene is beautiful! :)

  2. Hi! new follower! visiting thru the Let Get Social party. I love nativity sets as well, though I don't have one nearly as large as this one. I posted about my collection, if you'd like to check it out.
    Happy Sunday to you ;-)

  3. Love these memories:) Glad I am here where you welcome happy grandmothers and fun people because I believe I am both, LOL

    Thanks for joining Let's Get Social Sunday!

    Following via GFC!

  4. What a beautiful post! I love the name of your blog, too!! Happy New Year!

    Your newest follower from the Let's Get Social Hop. :) Can't wait to read more of your great blog.

    Kathy @

  5. Such a beautiful post and nativity! Thank you for joining Evelyn and myself for our first ever Let's Get Social Sunday hop! Now following via GFC.

  6. oh J you have such a gift of writing and sharing. thank you so much for the beautiful warm fuzzy in my heart, something much better than a wrapped gift! XO