My Youngest, about eight years ago, busy playing with the manger scene at Christmas.
Pajamas + fire + sock feet + sticky face = a happy morning.
This is the 'play'manger scene,
not to be confused with the 'special'manger scene,
which was always placed up high, just out of the reach of my three small sons.
That glass set was only for looking and not for touching,
one of the very few items in our home to ever fit in that demanding category.
But this plastic set, this one was fine to play with, and I wanted them to,
giving me an opportunity to talk to them about that holy night, and those who were part of the story. Now my Men and Almost-Men are too old to play with the pieces, and it turns out, this set, the ok-to-play-with-set, has become the real treasure!
That angel has flown through the entire house and always returned to her place on the stable roof. Baby Jesus has been wooled over, sent down steps (His bed does look a little like a sled...), and fed at the breakfast table. Those kings, and the shepherds too, have been on special ops with GI Joes, and I think Joseph flew in Chopper 5 more than once.
Mary stayed put, always, as she apparently made a poor adventure partner for my boys.
The innkeeper, also, was not taken out to play and was regarded with mild scorn at all times.
"No room - REALLY?!? He was crazy, Mom, right?!"
It's so easy to find fault with others' callousness toward the Lord, while ignoring and excusing our own mishandlings... While I long to be Mary in the story "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord...", or a Shepherd, filled with wonder and "making haste" toward Jesus, too often I find myself in the role of that miserable innkeeper, busily blind to what is going on in the kingdom, missing precious glimpses of the Lord when He is made manifest right in front of me.
Do you know what I mean? Do you see yourself in the Christmas story?
They've suffered a little damage - the donkey is missing an ear (broken while galloping with the camels), some hands have gone missing (it seemed to be very difficult to press a machine gun into the hand of a magi member), a shepherd's flute was bent (which sadly wouldn't make music when blown by small boys).
But they're all taking their places out there in the living room, welcoming the Christ Child in yet another Season of Joy.