Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas 2010

One of my earliest memories of Christmas, besides waiting as the top of the stairs to hear Grandma Susie say goodbye to Santa, was of our family Manger Scene.

I remember it vividly
It was made up of 16 plaster statues
There were Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
3 Shepherds two of whom were kneeling,
3 kings one was kneeling and one led a camel,
There was an angel who we called Gloria.
She was dressed in blue and held a sash with her name.

There was a cow without a tail,
and a donkey without an ear.

Finally there were three little sheep who used to ride with baby Jesus in coal car of my train which was under the tree.
The figures were pretty bumped up from 2 boys and 4 grandchildren.
And it is still in my mom’s house
We’ve had it for 61 years.

I can remember as a little boy laying on the floor of the living room and peering into the stable and rearranging the figures and telling myself the story over and over again.
As banged up as that little Manger scene was it taught me many important lessons.
Here is some of what I learned.

Jesus Our Lord and
Jesus our Savior and Jesus our Brother was born in a stable…

He was born in a stable that
we might understand that a simple life can be a good life.

He was born in the stable that
We might understand that we don’t need every new gadget.

We don’t need every modern convenience.
We don’t need huge houses impossible to clean and pay for.

The stable reminds us all that
sometimes we work so hard for things that rust and rot away that
and we miss the things and the moments which really are important.

As we look into the stable and gaze upon the manger…
let us remember that a simple life can be a good life indeed.

Jesus was…
Wrapped in swaddling clothes and
laid in a Manger on a bed of straw.

The manger held the food for the animals
It shape also made a perfect bed for Jesus.

But as I grew up I came to understand that there was a special symbolism here.
For Jesus and Jesus alone is indeed our Heavenly food only he can satisfy our hunger.
Every time we gaze on the manger
it is important to remember that

we will only ever be satisfied
when we eat the Bread of Life and drink the cup of salvation.

Only God
God’s will and purpose
Only God’s Love can  fill us up and satisfy us

Every other “satisfaction” is an illusion…
Our souls will not rest until they rest in God both on earth and in heaven.

The manger also taught me that
Upon Him a star shown bright
For God wanted to make sure that everyone could find him
and that everyone knew that they were loved.

The star was a indeed a beacon of hope to a world quite frequently lonely and broken.
It is impossible to hide a bright light in the sky.
It is impossible not to notice a bright shining star.

Why the Star
The message of the star and the message of the Gospel are clear

The star shown in the sky so that all of humanity in every age might find God’s Son and be saved.
Indeed they came
They came from the east bearing gifts
They came from the neighboring fields
They came from the heavens themselves

The Son of God was greeted by both shepherds and kings
The rich and the poor
The powerful and the weak
The famous and the not so famous
The healthy and the sick
The loud and the shy
The lowly and the great

And all of creation was filled with joy at the sight of a God who became a baby
In these frenetic days of family and friends
In these days of gifts food, and drink

Pray God that we learn the lessons of the Manger well
•    A Simple life is a good life
•    Only God can satisfy our deepest hungers
•    The star shines on everyone as does God’s Love
•    All are welcome

Best wishes for a most blessed Christmas and a happy and holy new Year

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