By Joseph J. Mazzella
Right after Thanksgiving this year, my son, who has more Christmas spirit than anyone I know, wanted to decorate our house for Christmas. We put on some Christmas carols then, went into the closet holding the decorations, and dug them out. The artificial tree took a while to set up. I had misplaced one of the bottom support legs. Thankfully, my son soon found it. After that things went smoothly. The tree was wrapped in lights and tinsel. Ornaments were hung. Tiny statues of Santa and Dicken’s era Christmas carolers were set out. Stockings and old Christmas cards were tacked to the walls.
Finally, with great care I took out the last of our decorations: my nana’s old, battered Nativity scene. The section with the wise men had broken off and been lost years ago. The wire to the light bulb signifying the star of Bethlehem was also gone. Still, in the manger lay the sweet, baby Jesus with Joseph and Mary beside him. And behind them were the peacefully kneeling cow and donkey.
I looked at the Nativity for a long time. I remembered how my nana used to bend down and lovingly kiss the baby Jesus when she would set it down. I remembered how when I was a child the Christmas story had seemed so strange and left me with so many questions. Why hadn’t they let them in the Inn? What were frankincense and myrrh? Was the baby Jesus cold being born in a barn with only a straw filled manger to keep him warm?
I know now, though, that this baby will never be cold again. He lives in the warm hearts of everyone who opens themselves to Him. He lives in the light of Heaven and in the love we all share with each other. He walks with us in our lives and can help us to make every day Christmas. May you always welcome Him into your home, your life, and your soul.