Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cardboard Box Manger Scene

I love Christmas. While I enjoy giving and receiving gifts, my favorite part of the holiday is spending quiet time just being with my family. For me, Christmas is not complete without many evenings spent watching the tree, playing music with my mom, and gathering as a family to hear the Christmas record.

Now that I've moved out on my own, some of that will change. Instead of enjoying an entire month of light and music and togetherness, our family time will likely be confined to a few hours of dinner and conversation. I considered decorating my makeshift apartment with a tiny tree, but I fear it would only sharpen my sense of being alone since my family wouldn't be there to enjoy it with me.

But winter is dreary enough without missing out on an entire month of lights and festivities. As I contemplated the best way to decorate without increasing my loneliness, I realized my focus has been all wrong. Important as family is, it's not what Christmas is about. Christmas is about Jesus coming. How could I have forgotten Him?

I dug through my storage boxes until I located my cheap glass manger scene. I'd never paid much attention to the manger set my mom put up every year, but now, as I studied the simple figures in my hand, I felt inspired.

Jesus was born in a stable. Nothing fancy or expensive there. For my stable, I chose a cardboard box turned on its side. I left the flaps on. It seemed a fitting choice to represent the kind of place Jesus was born.

Joseph must have scraped up hay to cushion the newborn baby in the manger. He had to be resourceful and use what he had, which wasn't much. I laid an old towel on the floor of my stable, covering it with dry pine needles I gathered in the yard.

Close-up of my manger scene

A few animals may have witnessed Jesus' birth. I nestled an antique brass chicken and a ceramic lamb behind my glass figures.

A special star lit the sky, marking the place Jesus was born. I tacked a tiny string of colored lights around the ceiling of my stable.

The stable was an incredibly humble, dirty, makeshift place. As I constructed mine, I wondered where Jesus would have been born had He come in modern times. Would He have been born under a bridge or in a car parked at a rest stop? I know this much: it would have been a place so lowly it was embarrassing. That didn't matter a bit to the mighty angelic beings who attended and sang at His birth. So I hung three sparkling angel cutouts at the doorway of my stable.

Putting together my manger scene took less than an hour. It was fun, but to my surprise, it was also an emotional journey as I realized anew how completely Jesus humbled Himself at Christmas.

I still feel alone sometimes, but when I plug in my manger scene, I'm at peace. For inside my cardboard box is everything that really matters.

Yup, it's all in a box!

1 comment:

  1. So beautiful, Melissa. I love your humble nativity. <3