No Room for a Bed
November 28, 2011For all the years of our marriage, Tom and I have decorated our home for Christmas on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Up and down the stairs come the "treasures" of a lifetime's collecting. It usually takes several days to get it all set and ready for the season. Reds and greens and blinking lights of all colors. No clear light people are we. We have a lot of Santa Claus at our house. Mother collected Santas, and at her death, I ended up with most of them. The spirit of giving represented in the Santas not only reminds me of Mother, but also of the call to be a generous giver in this holy season where love comes down. In our collection also are Nativity sets that we have collected through the years. Some are wood, some resin, some porcelain china. All treasured. The first Nativity set we bought - almost forty seven years ago now - is unpainted terra cotta clay. Earthy and plain for sure. The stable is rustic and a little broken down now. Straw fills the floor of the stable where the baby will lay. When I moved the box that was sitting in front of this treasured Nativity set, I noticed something different about the stable. There in the little floor, a nest of insulation and paper bits from somewhere in the attic had been laid as a bed for a birth. Once again and for the first time, in a place where there was no room for a bed, a birthing place had been set in a manger. There was no other evidence of this birth that remained, just like there had been no clue that a birth was pending. Only a few bumps and thumps in the night that we ascribed to old pipes and heating systems. There in a dark corner where we never go but once a year, someone found home and made a makeshift bed. New life was born in that tiny stable right under our noses....rather, over our heads in the attic. I thought about how Mary and Joseph must have looked around Bethlehem on that crowded night when they too ended up in a stable. The blessing of life is all around us in the largest and smallest of happenings. Let us embrace the hope of life that is given in this holy season of Advent and make a place of welcome for all God's creatures. God is with us... "Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay close by me forever and love me I pray. Bless all the dear children in thy tender care. And take us to heaven to live with thee there." Amen.