I’ve always had a thing for nativity scenes. I remember rushing to go to a Christmas Eve service with my Mom while in high school but finding we had missed the service. Instead, we stood peering on the large nativity scene outside the church, pondering the gift of Christmas. It seemed enough for that year and that moment remains precious.
The Christmas before I married, my parents gave me a nativity set, my most valued gift. They knew how much it meant to me.
This year, one of my most favorite services—Christmas Eve candlelight service—looked a lot different in my living room.
Our family traveled to La Salette Shrine for their celebration of lights the day after Christmas. I most looked forward to seeing their nativity scene. As I stood there, pondering the baby in a manger, the grateful parents, the shepherd holding a tender sheep, an overflowing of emotion welled up within me along with a foreign urge to create a poem. I don’t usually write poetry or consider myself gifted for it, but I’m offering it here to share a glimpse into my heart and what Christmas means to me.
first gently tugging at my child-heart
the nativity scene called as a work of art
what it represented I could just glimpse
wrapped in a mystical element
as I grew and strived and strained
the babe found me again all but drained
in my brokenness and despair
God’s grace shone down upon me there
I understood why He must come
God’s son a man He did become
to free me from my constant race
to be the best, to never settle for second place
victory found at manger, cross, and grave
victory found within my soul that He forgave
love so perfect, so stain-free
that I first glimpsed in the nativity
may my lack now reveal His grace
may He shine as I live in Christ’s embrace
at Christmastime and all through the year
may I always keep the nativity near.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!