a place for each of us.

Each year, I pick out an ornament for Mike and he picks out one for me to represent the past year. This is the only gift that he and I exchange, so it’s kind of a Big Deal and both of us like to get it right. A few years ago, Mike and I started the tradition of placing that year’s ornaments in our nativity set, echoing a similar practice that we had seen at church.


Here we are in the nativity scene: Atticus as a little train to celebrate his fascination with trains, his trip to Tweetsie, and the train that interrupted the fireworks display on July 4th (not to mention that his Christmas is going to have a bit of a train theme this year) and me as the state of NC because, as Mike said, my activism this year showed how much I love and care for the state where I live (even though I am real mad about some stuff that went down and I will write our governor and tell him so again). And I cheated a bit for Mike because that is not exactly an ornament but I couldn’t resist this adorable statue of a dad reading bedtime stories because that’s just exactly the caregiver he is.

When we first put ourselves in the nativity, it felt radical to me in surprising ways. As I child I always knew that I had a place in the family of God. As I have gotten more comfortable with the idea that my gifts and talents and perspective are valuable and important, I have started to see that I have a place to be, that I am needed, just as I am. It’s a small shift that has made big changes in my heart and the way I approach my own worth. In 2013, Mike faithfully served both me and Atticus, stirring sauce and reading stories and unloading the dishwasher, and as he did them, he embodied his patient steady belief in the work of God. In 2013, guided by my faith, I lent my voice to those who were standing for the rights of the marginalized. And in 2013, Atticus participated in the work of God by reminding us daily about wonder and holy imagination. There is a place for each of us in the story of God and God’s work in this world. What a beautiful gift it has been to watch that story unfold again this year.

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