Last night, the unthinkable happened. A Christmas nightmare.
I broke Baby Jesus.

Yes, I did.

I was placing the little barn full of carefully wrapped figurines up on its shelf of honor, when one extra-specially-wrapped bundle worked itself loose and hurled itself toward the earth. Baby Jesus is always wrapped in swaddling paper towels and laid in a Ziploc sandwich bag at the end of the holiday season. Nevertheless, the sound of breaking pottery was unmistakable.

The thoughts tumbling through my head at that shattering moment:
“Keep Christ in Christmas!”
“Why couldn’t I have dropped Santa Claus instead?”
“This is the nativity we bought when we first married thirty years ago.”
“What will Audrey think?”
“What will guests think?”
“Maybe there’s a hand-painted ceramic Baby Jesus on eBay…”
“What’s a nativity without Baby Jesus?”
“Quick! Call Edwina!” (My friend who always knows what to do…)

But within a split second of the terrifying sound of the plastic baggie smashing onto the hardwood floor came other thoughts:
“It is expedient for you that I go away…”
“Greater works shall ye do, because I go to the Father.”
“Christ in YOU is the hope of glory.”
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…”
“Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the age.”

It occurs to me that perhaps the new version of the Forgey Family Nativity may be a little bit more inspirational than the old one. As I experience Jesus on a day to day basis, He lives through me, more alive than ever. And as I see Him living through you as well, my faith abounds and results in thanksgiving and awe at His glorious plan!

I think the nativity will stay just as it is.

So as you ponder the photo of three wise men, a shepherd, an angel, Mary, and Joseph staring at the empty spot where the Jesus-in-the-Manger figurine should be, consider that at this very moment those people are truly experiencing the powerful reality that “He is not here; He is risen.”

He is risen, indeed.

Have a very merry Christmas!