Which One Are You?
Linda J. Gilden
"Here, Rose," said my granddaughter, "put this man there. He can't see baby Jesus." Elyse handed me the man with the bagpipes to move closer to the manger. "Why did he bring his bagpipes? Wouldn't loud noise scare baby Jesus?"
"You are right, sweetheart, bagpipes are loud. But you know what? I think this man brought bagpipes because he wanted to play a song for the baby. This man is a very talented musician and he is bringing a present to Jesus – music. Psalm 95:1 tells us, "Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord…' God loves music."
Every year when we carefully place the manger scene on the piano, we ponder each figure's story. As a mother and now grandmother, this special time with the children imagining the plight of each nativity figure is full of memories.
For years my personal favorite has been the figure that lives in the box marked "man with headache." This fellow carries a basket over one arm and has the other hand to his forehead. I can identify with him. Some days seem so overwhelming I just put my hand to my head and stagger toward Jesus.
Taking him out of the box, Elyse asks, "Why does that man look like his head hurts?"
Of course, we really don't know, but I say, "He is probably tired. He worked hard at home to get all the animals situated so he could go on this trip. He's a little worried about his wife and children too. See his basket? His wife packed him enough food to make this trip so he could see Jesus. His whole family is waiting for him to come home and tell them all about it."
We came to the egg lady. She carried her basket full of eggs carefully to Jesus.
"Does baby Jesus eat eggs?" seemed like a logical question for someone who had a baby brother who was not allowed to eat any solid food yet.
"Baby Jesus can't eat eggs but Mary and Joseph will be hungry. Eggs are a fine gift. This lady probably doesn't have much to give Jesus. So she gathered the eggs from her chickens and brought them to Jesus. This is a sacrificial gift. You know what that is?"
"Sacrificial. The lady gave something that she could have used. Her family could have had fresh eggs the day she gathered those in her basket. But instead she wanted Jesus to have them. That was the best present she could bring Him."
The manger scene grew with the addition of each figure. Elyse very carefully placed each one as it was taken from the box.
"Where does this little boy go?" She had picked up a young boy who was kneeling and had one hand outstretched.
"He needs to go right in front of Jesus. That little boy has come to worship Jesus. He didn't bring anything else with him. He just brought himself."
"He didn't bring a present for baby Jesus?"
"No, he didn't. Only himself. That's what Jesus gave us when He died on the cross and that's all He really wants from every one of us."
The annual placement of the manger scene causes me to ponder the plight of each figure. Though they are not real, they represent people from many walks of life with different personalities. If we study the scene we will surely find a figure to identify with.
On any given day the figure I might identify with could be different. But if I chose the one I'd like to most resemble, it would be the little boy on his knees in front of the manger. He is not encumbered by gifts or laden with supplies, he simply kneels, content to gaze upon the baby Jesus, God's gift to the world.
"Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Psalm 95:6)
This is the busiest season of the year. Instead of hurrying and scurrying, stressing and depressing, why not commit to spending more time thinking and thanking on your knees in front of the One whose birth changed the world?
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Linda Gilden in a freelance writer living in SC. Her recent book, Mama Was the Queen of Christmas, shares her love for Jesus' birthday season and how it really should be a year-long celebration. Linda is also a speaker, editor, and writing coach. She has written hundreds of articles as well as the Love Notes series, Mommy Pick-Me-Ups, and has ghostwritten or contributed to over three dozen books. As Director of the CLASS Christian Writers Conference, she encourages others to clearly communicate God's love to the world. Linda's favorite times are those spent with family – a source of tremendous blessing as well as speaking and writing material! www.lindagilden.com
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