Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Stable Background

I love Christmas. I love everything about Christmas. So tonight, not being able to stand any more outdated Thanksgiving cheer, I turned on some seasonal music and hauled down my Christmas boxes. I was giddy. Especially when I open the nativity box.

Last year, my Grandmother - the same one who bestowed upon me the now infamous toothpick holder - culled her Christmas collection. I was excited to get one of her nativity sets. The one I've displayed for a thousand Christmases is one I bargained for years ago in a market in Mexico. It's carved from soapstone, and baby Jesus is missing half His face. (Maebelline, my cat, abducted baby Jesus and His manger back in 2004. I freaked out for a week before finding Him under the bed. That night, I told Maebelline she'd better repent of swiping and biting Jesus or she'd have a lot to answer for. Let's hope she did.)

That aside, suffice to say that I was due a new nativity scene. Sentimental or not, you just can't display a gnawed-on baby Jesus.

So the new one went up tonight. I carefully arranged the figures atop a piece of furniture Mae never jumps on, and retired to the living room where I began watching television. Within moments, I was yawning to a show that mentioned a set of twins: one successful, one trouble. The psychologist and the host argued the whole nature versus nurture issue, and I switched the channel. Predictable stuff. I thought they'd proved long ago that we, as humans, are a product of both nature and nurture...

I walked back into the entryway and looked at my nativity. Sure was pretty. And as I stared at baby Jesus, I realized: forget nature. Forget nurture. It's all about a stable background.

Hear me out. I believe the Bible is clear that we are all born with a sin nature. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans says. Even perfectionists are a joke. We're all sinners. Me. (Especially me.) You. We all mess up. I guess that's why we all had such a fundamental, all-encompassing need for... baby Jesus. Talk about a nurturer. Sure, children with affectionate, doting parents statistically tend to grow up to be more loving, responsible adults than their ignored, neglected counterparts. But all of us, regardless of upbringing, need a Savior. A "Comforter". An ultimate nurturer...

A stable background.

I'm not sure where you started out, but it's kind of irrelevant, don't you think? I mean, all of us... you, me, everyone... has the same chance - the same access - to the Child born in that manger so many Christmases ago. We may not have had stable, nurturing backgrounds, so He offered His. God became man - was born in a stable - just so we could come to know the nurturing love He offers. I could bore you all day with my past, but the truth is, nothing really matters save the day when, as a child, I accepted Jesus as my Savior; the day I realized His stable background could become my stable future.

Yep, that nativity means a lot to me. It's the embodiment of a level playing field. It's the hope of emotionally banged-up, bruised, and hurting grown-up children everywhere. And the neat thing this Christmas? A stable background... well, it's yours for the taking, too.

Just ask that Child in the manger.

1 comment:

Karen Deborah said...

I love this. I remember the first Christmas my background had a stable in it. God is so good.