Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him


The May Queen helped me when we decorated the house for Christmas. I gave her the job of setting up this nativity - the first I ever owned. Someone at the church I grew up in gave me this tiny plastic set when I went off to college so I would have a decoration for my dorm room.

When I was younger my brother and I used to fight over who would set up the manger scene, and when the other one would leave the room we would set it up the way in which we thought it was better. When I gave MQ the task of setting up these figures I envisioned them spread out in a beautiful, symmetrical configuration - a stage picture that best showed all the characters and highlighted Jesus in the center... clear for us the audience to see him.

Instead, she made all the characters gather around, eager to get a close look at this new wonder, desiring to be as close as possible to the newborn king.

What could be more perfect?

Often we stand back and admire this Jesus fellow from afar. From a 'safe' distance. We worry about being seen. We are busy checking out who else is there. Feeling smug about who is not.

This Christmas I pray you get in close. Smell his baby head. Gaze into his eyes. Get as close as possible to this new wonder, this newborn king. Get shoulder to shoulder with a smelly, dirty shepherd and an elegant, wise man. Come into the presence of the one who welcomes us all.

*************
I want to thank all of you for your kind responses to my last post. It made me only a wee bit nervous to post, and I say only a wee bit because I feel like I KNOW you, my fellow bloggers in this little corner of the internet I have carved out. I know that I have created these virtual friendships with people who I have much in common with, although not all things in common. I trusted that you would hear me, and even if you did not agree with me, you would respond kindly and with love. And you did. Oh, how you did. Many of you made points I wanted to make, as well, but didn't to try to keep the post from getting even longer and more rambling than it already was. Some of you made me think about things even more, and differently. I was particularly struck by the idea of our using God as an excuse for hate and bigotry as blasphemy. Of course! my brain yelled, jubilantly. It is blasphemy. I am SO incorporating that into my way of thinking. If you haven't read all the comments, I highly recommend that you do. I am heartened to know there are so many people out there who believe in LOVE. In its many and varied forms. Some of you mentioned you may write posts of your own about the subject. If you do, please let me know. I will post links here.

And this post today makes me a wee bit nervous, too, because I know that all of my readers aren't Christians, and of course I don't want to offend any of you. But I trust you won't be offended. I trust that you know this is where I am coming from. This is my faith and my background and my blog - and so I share this with you. Without judgement. I share it with you.

Merry Christmas.

33 comments:

niobe said...

I'm fascinated by MQ's arrangement because, except from the vantage point you photographed it -- looking down from on high -- it's mostly inaccessible to the outside viewer. As you say, it would be very difficult to stage it that way, because it would be so hard for the audience to see what's going on.

I imagine your blog as doing something analogous to your photograph -- giving non-Christians like me a glimpse into a circle that, from the outside, we have trouble truly seeing.

Sober Briquette said...

Hmm. Now I'm wondering about when Fiona and I put up our set. I remember that I kept pushing figures back and turning them so I could see them.

Magpie said...

I'm in the non-Christian, indeed atheist, camp - but you are delicate in your sprinkling of your religion upon your blog.

Though, at first glance, I thought that your nativity pieces were made of maple sugar candy...

Rima said...

That picture of the nativity scene that MQ set up actually brought tears to my eyes. She's a wise one, too.

thirtysomething said...

Your daughter is already very wise, as children are until we push our beliefs and thoughts and judgements onto them. Bravo to you for leaving it just the way she set it up, letting her know that you accept her portrayal, and you are right, it is perfect.
Happy Christmas to you and your family, Maypole.

Beck said...

I worry about posting overtly Christian posts, too - but your courage in the last two days has been inspirational. Merry Christmas to you.

girlymom said...

My MIL gives my children nativity scenes for a baptism gift, my house looks like a nativity scene threw up in here, they are everywhere!! Cute, but everywhere!

Chrissy said...

I love how she put the scene together. What an insightful post.

Julie Pippert said...

Her arrangement is fantastic, what a brilliant little girl. :)

And thanks for speaking up.

Julie
Using My Words

Jen M. said...

Niobe's comment was fascinating...

and I like the arrangement, too.

Badness Jones said...

What a great girlie you have. I love how she set up the nativity. And I was fascinated by your post and the comments Monday....just don't know what to add....

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I think it doesn't so much matter what your spiritual bent is with this post - it seems a special way of saying "feel the love" - feel the love of humanity and the world and take what is best and REALLY pay attention to it. For you, it's a focus on baby Jesus. For someone else it might be on Allah or the Goddess or just on life, in general, but it's just a lovely post and brightened my day. Thank you.

Amy said...

You are such a great friend for this reason. It is your beliefs and you willing share, but not overdoing it. You respect the beliefs of others. I am glad you are my friend!

Amy said...

oh! And Merry Christmas to you and your family! Hope you enjoyed the GB House! ;-)

Heather said...

I love seeing things through the eyes of children. Seeing everything for the first time again. Sometimes they just really get what's important when we've gotten all tied up in the junk around us. So thanks MQ!

WorksForMom said...

I love her arrangement and this post. Merriest of Christmas to you and your family PM!

Kathryn said...

Looking at my nativity now I wonder if I should reconfigure it. The MQ's setting seems so much more appropriate. I always envisioned the wise men on their way to the stable and animals in the pasture, but I love the idea of every one waiting anxiously as close to the stable as possible. Just as it should be.
This post is beautiful. Thank you. I have warm fuzzies all over. :)

flutter said...

Merry Christmas to you, love.

Mad Hatter said...

I lost my faith along the way a long time ago and yet I can appreciate a wondrous nativity scene, the metaphor of hope in the birth of a child, and the faith of someone who seems about as decent and loving a person as exists on this green earth (whoever it may belong to).

creative-type dad said...

My grandmother had the biggest nativity setup in her house. I remember you could pratically hide in it.
Merry Christmas!

susiej.com said...

It is hard to write about things that are so dear to your heart -- but actually do offend others. But, I think really, you can't offend. We find the same spark and joy in watching someone else love something that may not be our own belief. It's in the act of loving we find a common bond -- not the object. And God talks about that with the idol worship stuff. The trouble is, many people just don't look beyond all of that.

We arrange Jesus the same way here.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

In response to your comment on my blog... if you're going to start with Jane Austen, may I suggest either Emma or Pride and Prejudice as an entry point? I hope you love her as much as I do. Since we both completely love Helena and Midsummer, perhaps that bodes well!

Merry Christmas!

wheelsonthebus said...

Usually, I just don't comment on posts about Christianity. I do not know enough, it is not my religion. But, I read them all with interest. It is a part of the lives of these people I have come to care for, and I want to know about it.

So, no offense whatsover.

Best wishes for a peaceful new year.

Family Adventure said...

Hi I missed your post below, but I read it now, and you are amazing. Thank you for saying what should be so obvious, but apparently is not, to so many. Big hugs for that.

The other big hug goes to the May Queen for her setup of the nativity scene. Brilliant in its simplicity.

I am not a practicing Christian, but I take your meaning to heart. I understand what you mean. And I appreciate it and wish the same for you.

Heidi :)

Jennifer said...

I am a spritual religious person more than a Bible-Jesus religious person, and though I attend church, I am sometimes uncomfortable with (NOT offended by) outward displays of religious belief. But, oh, the sweetness of MQ's arrangement ! really touched me.

I didn't get a chance to respond to your post below. I've been so busy lately and I wanted to wait until I had time to really read and check out your links. This is an issue that is so important to me, as well, and I was eager to hear your thoughts. You wrote wonderful, loving words and the comments that followed gave me hope. Amen. (May it be so!) Thank you for putting yourself out there.

blooming desertpea said...

Jesus in the middle IS how it should be for everyone.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Queeny said...

As a Christian, i appreciate you Nativity and your sincerity. I also appreciate your courage, because, as I am discovering, there are many non-Christians out there and because I consider many of them to be blog friends, I aim to not offend. But, then again, isn't that what our blogs are about? Not to offend, but to share a little bit of ourselves, regardless of our differences.

Furrow said...

Although I'm still conflicted on this religious stuff, I am touched by the sincerity and gentleness with which you present your faith. Despite my ambivalence, I do like my nativity scene. I tend to push all the extras to the outskirts and form a tight circle with Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and the little animals. But I also really like what MQ has done with yours.

jen said...

it's the without judgment part that makes it perfect, love. you sharing your heart without making mine feel wrong at the same time.

happy joyous holiday, love.

Amy Y said...

Not Christian and not offended... in the slightest. I think if your readers don't want to hear about your faith, which is very much a part of you, they shouldn't come to your blog. I love that you speak honestly and passionately, whether I agree with your words or not... I respect them. And you.

Merry Christmas. :)

Catherine said...

I'm glad you are sharing - I love learning about the things people believe and cherish. And, I always feel that fear on my blog - with what I say, I'm typically afraid I'll offend people on every side of the issues, by trying to see each side...

Just Seeking said...

My favorite thing ever as a kid was to lie under the tree and "play" with the nativity. For some reason, in our house, it was always on the tree skirt under the tree---later to be covered by presents---but I always uncovered it and "played" with it. I loved to look upon Jesus adoringly and to have the others do the same. Your little MQ is a sweetheart. And I love what you said about how we need to get closer. You are so eloquent.

Victoria said...

I've missed reading you while I was gone for Christmas! Happy New Year!

I'd put myself in the agnostic camp, but expose my kids to everything - including a good dose of Christianity. We have a manger scene under our tree...and the players are *always* crammed together up close. Warm and loving. My Girlie does it too. MQ is a sweetie!