Away From the Manger

A few Christmases back, it occurred to my wife that we should have a children’s manger scene for the kids to play with. The idea was to keep them away from the delicate grown-up one, and it worked really well. All the figures (Jesus, Joseph, Mary, shepherds, wise men, etc.) are made of hard plastic, as is the actual manger itself. It even has a button so you can make the star light up. The kids absolutely love it.

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure why, but that’s okay. It’s just great to have them get so excited about a Christmas decoration.

Our other decorations are a fairly typical mix of religious and silly. In addition to the manger scenes, for example, we have a gaudy little tabletop merry-go-round that beeps out Christmas songs as it turns and flashes lights. This runs a close second in the kids’s hearts to the manger scene. If they’re not re-arranging the holy family, they’re watching the merry-go-round turn.

Yesterday, I heard the familiar beeping of the merry-go-round as I was cleaning in the kitchen. I ignored it, of course, figuring that it was just the annual popularity contest of Jesus vs. the carousel.

My wife, however, tapped me on the shoulder and quietly led me out to see what was going on.

Our oldest (the five year old) had put the manger figures on the carousel and turned it on. The members of the holy family – along with the little plastic shepherds and wise men – were standing among the horses of the carousel, riding around in circles to the thing’s electronic rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

Giving baby Jesus a ride on a carousel. Now isn’t that just what Christmas is all about?

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