Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why I Need A New Baby Jesus

Every year in anticipation of Christmas, we set out the nativity set. I have several, including my favorite, a very large plastic Fontanini version given to us as a wedding gift. The Bishop who married us sagely made sure it could weather the pounding kids give a large set of colorful figurines and barn yard animals. They have endured in part because of their oversized nature.

The smaller sets alas, have not fared as well. When we lost a sheep, I did feel the scriptural pull to search the whole house over but that lost lamb did not have as good a shepherd. I could endure the camel going AWOL and even stomached the angel flying away. After all, we could always substitute a star. Then Joseph went missing. The shepherd made a poor understudy. After a protracted search through the various toy bins, we discovered him amidst a sea of knights, action figures and assorted Thomas the Tank Engine friends.

Eventually, one set got whittled down to the bare essentials, Jesus, Mary and Joseph while another had two magi and a donkey as the extended entourage. I could live with these redacted versions for the most part. After all, these were reminders of the real event, and if my children knew the story, even these half measures were sufficient.

However, my daughter whose birthday falls dangerously close to December 25th also has a nativity set that has been added to every Christmas. It has long since expanded past the stable and its core members to include the neighboring town folk and fields. This year, within minutes of having set up her scene however, the baby Jesus went missing.

I was certain one of her toddler sisters had walked off with it so I made some inquiries. The two year old smiled, nodded and toddled off saying something that sounded like "Trash." I paused to consider whether I would take the word of a not yet potty trained child as to the whereabouts of the most important figure in the nativity story. Toddlers do not make good witnesses I told myself after spying the garbage can brimming over.

Theoretically, the figurine should be at the top. But I knew if I looked, I'd wind up digging through the entire smelly contents. I also knew if I didn't take a peek and didn't find it, I'd rue the fact that I hadn't at least opened the bag. It took a walk around the house looking to steel up my nerve to open the trash. I was "checking other obvious places first," I told myself.

Opening the trash bag yielded nothing. Nor did the subsequent smelly sticky digging. The debate in my mind as to when I would have sifted through enough to constitute a thorough search and satisfy my conscience and maternal guilt was as fierce as the smell.

Then the owner of the nativity set came into the kitchen. She looked at her crèche with a fierce pleased pride. "Good idea hiding the Baby Jesus Mom. He shouldn't be there until Christmas."

Mentally thanking her for the out and mildly amused that she didn't find the idea of her mother knee deep in debris the least bit odd, I vowed to get a replacement and wrap it in a box to be the first present opened Christmas day. Bagging up and abandoning the search, I washed my hands and decided to tackle the replacement another day; still hoping that the Baby Jesus might turn up when I least expected it.

So now, when I think of what I need for Christmas, the answer is what Christmas is supposed to be; I need the baby Jesus. And although I’ve ordered a new one, I still know it’s possible that He may show up when I’m not looking reminding me that the time before Christmas is about being watchful and waiting.

(Ran last year 12/10/09 This year, not one figurine has gone AWOL, but it's still early in the season).


Young Mom said...

The Camel's head has been broken off, and both angels have dissapeared. The Donkey is still around, but I caught my 2 year old holding baby jesus the other day. Goodness, I think I need to get one of those soft stuffed nativitys. And Kudos to you for actually crawling through the garbage, I'm not brave enough for that, if something landed in the garbage, its gone. :)

RAnn said...

Welcome to the Catholic Blog Directory. Blogs added to that directory receive an invitation to join Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival which is a weekly feature allowing Catholic bloggers to network and share favorite posts with each other. This week's host post is at http://rannthisthat.blogspot.com/2009/12/sunday-snippets-catholic-carnival_12.html

MightyMom said...

oh my gosh. you dug through the trash looking for Jesus? I can't tell you how hilarious that is on SOOOO many levels!!!

I actually called my husband from Walmart back before Thanksgiving when I was doing our Christmas shopping to debate getting a Nativity set for our home. I keep hoping to find the pre-printed fabric that you sew and stuff...but no luck yet, I seem to always remember to go to THAT store a week after they sell out.

Anyway, hubby said NO, the kids were still so young they'd just destroy the thing. Not wanting to be WITHOUT this year I opted for a $1 window cling Nativity in 10 pieces. It's actually pretty, is on the window in our front door which is right next to our Advent calendar.... and when the kids get too enthusiastic in rearranging the pieces I just move them to the top of the window where they can't reach!!

Here's to waiting and searching (snicker) for Jesus with you.

Edie Mindell said...

I can't imagine you digging through the trash bin.:-) When Mary went missing in our nativity set, I knew that my daughter hid it somewhere. Luckily, after so much prodding, she told me to look for it under her bed mattress, and surely, Mary was there.:-)

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