This is the first week of Advent. Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of Advent themes. This week we light the candle of HOPE.
I remember playing with the little plastic figurines of our family’s nativity as I set them in position. I especially liked the sheep and the baby. At first I did not understand what the scene was to represent, and just liked to play with them…but as I grew older, I took joy and pride in being very careful with setting it up.
When I got married and had children of my own, it made me so happy to pass on the setting up of the nativity to my daughter Ashley. Over the years I watched as she too played with the small images. My heart was full when I saw her idea of what that night may have looked like grow as she did. One year, after learning in Sunday School that the wise men actually arrived much later after the birth, we found the figurines depicting the wise men set across the living room. She said they were still “a far”.
This year the setting up of our nativity set was even more eventful. Words cannot describe the sweet joy of watching my precious granddaughter sit with her Aunt Ashley as she showed her the set. As she discovered each little piece I could not look away. She was very intent. Her little 2-year-old mind was fast at work. She decided she was not a fan of the camel, therefore he was not allowed to be in the stable, or near it. And apparently the hay loft is a good place for cow to hang out. But my favorite part of it all was her placement of baby Jesus. He spent the better part of the day precariously perched on top of the stable. Eventually we would find him on top of her sippy cup and even in the hay loft.
I will remember the image of baby Jesus on the roof of the stable for years to come!
When I look at each tiny figurine, I consider the huge moment they represent. This was the moment God sent his Son, my hope for forgiveness, my redeemer and grace in the flesh. If not for the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I would be lost, seeking, unfulfilled and hurting. In Him, I know forgiveness, joy even when things are difficult, and love I do not deserve.
Tonight, as I sit to create this post, I can’t help but think about Jesus on the roof. Where would Jesus be found in my life today. Have I placed Him in the center of my life, easy for me to find? Have I tucked him away in a quiet out-of-the-way place, like the hay loft? Is it possible that I have placed Him in a remote part of my life, on a roof? Tonight I am challenged to rearrange some things.
This week as we consider the Hope that we have because of the birth of our Savior, may each nativity set we see in the season remind us to find Jesus inside our hearts and not up on the roof.
“Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13