Author: Holly Hawes
Shiny lights and glittery things are spilling out of windows around the world as we prepare for Christmas. Even the stingiest of Christmas decor purists have begun to decorate. Others, like me, are turning up the Christmas music with a triumphant cheer because NO ONE can tell us any longer that it isn’t time to begin celebrating Jesus’ birthday.
As I have been waiting for the Christmas season, I’ve been thinking about why I love the decorating part of Christmas so much. In the end, it comes down to the special items that are visual reminders that Jesus is the hope the world needs. When I pull out each piece from storage, I am reminded of long-ago Christmas’ and the stories of each nick-knack fill my heart.
The headless shepherd who resides at my grandma’s house is one of my favorites. My most cherished Christmas tradition: Gluing on his head. Every year we pull out the now ragged box containing the brightly painted nativity from the 1970’s, complete with newspaper reused year after year from the first time it was gingerly wrapped and stored away. I remember reattaching that poor shepherd’s head with several kinds of glue as well as sweetened condensed milk. No luck; every year he still loses his head. We are completely unwilling to give up on the shepherd. He cannot be replaced!
Though the paint is wearing, this nativity is one of the ways that my family cherished Jesus and retained that Christmas about Him. That nativity, set on the child size table in the corner of the entryway wasn’t shiny and isn’t new, but it produced wonder in my heart as a child. I loved that we got to play with it. It wasn’t so precious that it had to be high up on a shelf or protected from tiny hands. Jesus, Emmanuel, was God with us. Down at the level of a little child.
This year I bought a nativity of my own, made of melamine to withstand time and be used over and over. The style is different but the goal the same. I started the wise men in the Kitchen to let them slowly make their way to discover Jesus. But sure enough, one of those wise men took a tumble when the littlest discovered them making their perilous journey across the desert of my countertop. He too, lost his head, but his sacrifice was worth it because it spurred questions from little voices. Who are these guys? Why are they going to Jesus?
It’s time to pull out the sweetened condensed milk, carry on this tradition that has found us, and as we bind our wise man’s head together we bond with each other. Each on our own trek to move closer, draw near, and discover where and who Jesus is.
Holly is a wife, mother of one, and foster mother to many. She seeks to glorify God in all she does, for all her life. She studied Intercultural Studies at Corban University and loves to build bridges between cultures and people. She welcomes people into her life, into her heart, and into her home with hopes of offering encouragement. You can find more from Holly at her blog Called to Restore.