The Nativity

Christmas decorations and festivities are in full swing at our house. The tree is now up and although I did finally have to relent and remove the Diamondbacks hat from the top of the Christmas tree, it was still beginning to look an awful lot like Christmas. Each year we begin by decorating the interior of the house followed by the Christmas tree. We then move to the outside adding lights within reason to the house and landscape. The final touch is the placement of the nativity set. The nativity set was hand made by Trina and has extreme sentimental value. It is also one of the most beautiful sets I have seen. The nativity has a special place atop the oak book case in our living room. Once it is set up, we gather the children around and tell the story of the nativity and the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a family tradition that has become very important to us. You would think that something that beautiful and meaningful would be off limits to my warped sense of reality but you would be wrong in that assessment.

Trina had gotten busy with other things in her life and against her better judgment she suggested that I be put in charge of retrieving the nativity set from storage and placing it on the bookcase. That evening we would gather around for the annual story. Not wanting to disappoint her, I made it a priority to make sure it got done. I brought the box into the house and carefully began removing the pieces and gently placing them on the top. I have to admit, I am not sure I have ever paid close attention to the placement of the nativity figures in years past so I wasn’t sure exactly where they went. I mean we had camels, wise men, donkeys, shepherds, a couple of cows, Joseph, Mary, and of course the baby Jesus. That seemed like a pretty big crowd and I now came to appreciate how the innkeeper would say he just didn’t enough room for all of those guys in his hotel. I wasn’t sure I had enough room on the bookcase so I definitely related to the innkeeper. But after several minutes of rearranging figures like a bad seating chart exercise for a wedding dinner, I finally got everything put in place. Something though didn’t look right. Since we didn’t have much time before Trina and the kids would arrive for the story, I improvised the best way I could.

After dinner the family gathered in the living room to hear the nativity story. I was pretty proud of myself for getting things done so that Trina didn’t have to worry about it. The kids formed a circle and Trina brought out the bible to tell the story. Almost as soon as she began, the kids began to smile. The smiles shortly turned to low giggles which ultimately turned into laughter. Trina was obviously not happy that the kids were not taking this story more seriously. Finally she stopped reading to chastise the kids for their behavior. They apologized but just could not control themselves. Trina asked what they thought was so funny. Dakota between giggles pointed to the top of the book case to the nativity scene. Trina turned and looked. Her mouth dropped to the floor and she wheeled around screaming, “JEFF!” All eyes immediately turned to me as Trina asked, “Why are there three Diamondbacks bobbleheads in the middle of the nativity scene?” Not wanting to admit that I didn’t know where the figures were supposed to go, I said the first thing that came to my mind, “Jesus needed some protection in the line-up.” At that point the kids lost it and so did Trina. Just not in the same way. I guess the wise men didn’t bring bobbleheads to the first Christmas.

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