There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?

I am posting this for the Tour of Homes. Obviously it is more word-focused than most of the tour posts are, but our house is under construction and we kept decorations to a minimum this year. There’s a big plastic sheet keeping drywall dust out of my living room, which isn’t really something I’d like to share with the internet. So I am offering this picture of our crèche instead with the hopes that you will remember that the Incarnation that we celebrate was also for you.

For the past several years, one of our church’s traditions has been to set up a nativity on a large table either in the front of the church or in the back. Every person in the church was then invited to bring a figurine to symbolize themselves there at the nativity, for all of us to come and witness and be present to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Every year, to get us started, our pastor brought his Reverend Lovejoy figure. There were Transformers and Polly Pockets and Legos and Precious Moments and, oh, almost everything you can imagine. It reminded me a bit of The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle, in which all manner of animals attended the birth of Christ. Except that this was about the people, how Jesus came for all of us. It is silly, to be sure, but it always seemed like an act of faith to me, to place yourself there, to stake a claim that you believed that it was all for you, too. I never managed to bring something in to symbolize me. This is partly because of my fear of joining things, and partly because it is so much easier to say that Jesus came for the world than it is to say that he came because of my sin and sadness, to melt my dark of doubt away.

I thought about this earlier this week when I saw the post Emily’s sister wrote about the wise men playing with Barbie dolls. I realized that we weren’t doing it this year at church, which is probably, after all, a good thing. You don’t want to wear out your traditions, after all. You want to keep them fresh and new, to change them up from time to time. I hope we bring it back, though. I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to do more than just show up for the party, what it means to be present and to celebrate. I feel like I am almost ready to take my Nancy Pearl action figure and place her on the table there among my friends who love me. I am almost ready to believe that there is not only a spot for Optimus Prime and Mr. Potato Head, but there is also a spot for me.




(First person to make a joke about libraries and silent nights will feel my wrath. Also, I don’t really wear sensible shoes.)

It was so fun for me to put myself in the nativity scene that I wondered if other people might join me. Find something to represent you and take a picture of it there with the sheep and the shepherds and Mary and Joseph. (And little tiny Baby Jesus if you happen to have one quite as small as we do.) Put your link in the comments so the rest of us can see it, too. Say it bold, that the birth of Christ is for all of us, no matter how we see ourselves.

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  1. Oh, I really love this idea. What a cool thing for your whole church to participate in. I might steal it for the youth group next year.

    Posted 12/9/2009 at | Permalink
  2. I love this too, Kari. Here’s my picture:

    And – thanks for writing. I so appreciate it.

    Posted 12/9/2009 at | Permalink
  3. Kari

    I love that, Bethany! Thank you! So fun to see what other people choose.

    Posted 12/9/2009 at | Permalink
  4. awesome idea!

    Posted 12/10/2009 at | Permalink
  5. Kari

    Yay! You are the best. El Tormento!

    Posted 12/11/2009 at | Permalink
  6. Your message is just beautiful. May many wonderful Christmas memories be made within its walls.

    Our home is having an old fashioned handmade Christmas this year. I hope you will stop by.

    Posted 12/13/2009 at | Permalink
  7. Wow. Your words are worth a thousand pictures. Thank you for giving them to us.

    Posted 12/13/2009 at | Permalink
  8. What a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing. I love your nativity sets. Merry CHRISTmas!

    Posted 12/13/2009 at | Permalink
  9. I’m glad I randomly clicked on your link. It was a very thought provoking post and I’m personally glad you talked more and showed less. I haven’t heard of a church doing that, but it is an intriguing idea that WOULD get people thinking. Thank you for the time you took to put this post together.

    Merry Christmas to you!

    Posted 12/14/2009 at | Permalink
  10. I really like the Willow Tree nativity too!

    Thanks for showing us around.
    Merry Christmas!

    Posted 12/14/2009 at | Permalink
  11. great idea!

    Posted 12/14/2009 at | Permalink
  12. I love your post! Yes, there is room there for you..and me… which is where we belong. Thank you!

    Click here for MY Christmas open house

    Posted 12/14/2009 at | Permalink
  13. Stopping by from The Nesting Place. I love your post and love the idea of placing something to symbolize yourself in the nativity scene. Such a simple but bold statement and a great way to say/show that you do believe that Jesus was born to save you…and all of us! There’s always room for one more!

    Posted 12/14/2009 at | Permalink
  14. Becky

    This touched me.

    Posted 12/14/2009 at | Permalink
  15. It is lovely! Thank you for sharing and Merry Christmas.


    Posted 12/14/2009 at | Permalink
  16. Beautiful and heartfelt. May Jesus be with you this Christmastime and always.

    Posted 12/15/2009 at | Permalink
  17. Glenda

    It is thrilling to know that there are so many people who realize the true meaning of Christmas. God says heaven and earth will pass away but His word never will. Through a glass dimly now but soon face to face.

    Posted 12/15/2009 at | Permalink
  18. That was a wonderful idea and i love the nativity.

    Posted 12/15/2009 at | Permalink
  19. I love that there is a place for me at the nativity. That is so special. I am stopping in from Nester’s Place. To see my tour click on the ‘Christmas 2009’ Tag on in the left sidebar!

    Posted 12/17/2009 at | Permalink
  20. Lovely blog! Merry Christmas!!!

    Posted 12/17/2009 at | Permalink
  21. I love your nativity scene.
    All the decorations are just beautiful! Thank you for the tour!

    Posted 12/19/2009 at | Permalink
  22. Wanted to let you know that we’re using this idea in youth group Monday night. But instead of having them bring something in (and them all forgetting to do it), we are setting out art supplies for them to create something that represents them. I am very excited. Thanks to you and your church for the idea!

    Posted 12/8/2010 at | Permalink

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