God with us.
The truth of God's grace and love manifested through His Son's coming to Earth, for us, for me, is enough to make me stop every time.
For this reason, the first Christmas decorations that come out are the Nativity scenes. Each is special and treasured.
I have a small set that I brought back from Ecuador, and it sits on my kitchen window sill--it's probably my favorite simply because it came from home. It's small and simple. The kids often like to arrange the snowmen and penguins around the manger scene because they worship Jesus too.
Then there's the set that Jim brought home from Kenya, when he was there on a missions trip just a couple weeks before our youngest was born. This set, with the long faces, isn't pretty, but it resembles the Masai people who carved it, and that's where the beauty is for me. Yes, the wise men pieces are up, and I understand that they weren't at the manger that night, but I can't bear to not put them up, so they're there, too. Besides, when I was a girl, the wisemen were at the manger...until Mom quit putting them out because technically, they weren't there that night. But I missed them. Those wise men traveled such a great distance to worship Jesus and they teach me so much--especially lessons to stop what I was doing and go to worship Jesus--regardless of the time it costs me and distance I might have to go mentally. It's worth the effort. Every. single. time.
The kids' favorite Nativity set, by far, is the set my parents gave us. Mom hunted out a kid-friendly set that will last for years even with constant kid-handling. She found this at a craft bazaar and for a couple of years she added pieces to my set.
This one goes on our school cabinet which is right in the middle of the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Rarely does a day go by that it stays the same because the kids are constantly rearranging it--even now that they're older.
It will be fun to introduce this one to my grandgirls this year. Another generation to whisper over it as they rearrange it.
There's just something about Nativity scenes that draw me in. I can understand why my little ones would stand at the school cabinet and stare at the manger scene for a long time, not moving, just gazing. I feel that same pull, and I'm so thankful.
May we always be like the shepherds and wisemen who stopped what they were doing and went to Jesus to see and worship.