Old Things - Little Hands

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Old Things - Little Hands

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Sojourn With Luz Leigh

Old Things - Little Hands

Written by Luz Leigh - 31 December 2009

Recently I was sharing with a friend about our family tradition regarding the Christmas Nativity scene that has been our family for half a century. It is small, but holds many memories for me. I can remember setting it out when it was just my daddy and me at home. Daddy would be sitting in his rocker, chewing on the Roi-tan cigar that he always enjoyed in the evening. I would be chattering about something and setting out the figures. Then on Christmas Eve, we would read the Christmas story as told by Luke and Matthew in the New Testament.

Later I threw in the tradition of turning off the electric lights, except for those gracing the Christmas tree. We would use a kerosene lamp for light as we read the familiar story. But back to the Nativity story.

Here is the tradition. When it comes time to begin decorating for the Christmas season, we place the little Nativity scene out first ... and then it is the last thing we put away after the holidays. The little figurines are small, made of some almost unbreakable substance. I have had it since the 1950s, and except for one little sheep that lost a leg years ago, it is still in good condition. (Family lore has it that he was the family "black" sheep; jumped out of the scene, landing on the floor nearby, and someone with a heavy foot accidentally stepped on his leg, breaking it off.) The children are not allowed to play with the figures, so when my oldest granddaughter, Patsy, was small I made a Nativity scene from cloth; it is constructed of stuffed figures and animals that little hands can't damage. Next year I will put that one out also so Beth will be allowed to touch the scene. Because the scene was displayed on a shelf out of her reach this year, she was not tempted. For years the one I made has not been brought out of the box (but I did not do away with it ... figured surely the Lord would bless me with either another grandchild or a great-grandchild ... and HE did. Beth brings the number of grandchildren to five).

Just as with her daddy, Beth will be allowed to "walk" the figures around as the Christmas story is read. Those chubby little hands will be taught to gently place the Baby Jesus in the manger when I read Luke 2:6-7 "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Then she can move the shepherds from their spot out in the fields guarding their sheep (Verse 8) to the manger scene.

Although we know the Magi or Wise Men came not to the stable, but to the house in which Joseph and Mary were living, we include them. Beth can move the bejeweled figures which are bearing gifts for the Child along with their camels. Their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh held special meaning.

Old things ... like the Christmas story and family traditions ... need to be kept around so that little hands will learn of the past. However, with the Christmas story, it is not just in the past ... it is present and future. It gives us and all who hear it hope for life eternal. A precious baby boy, born in an humble stable long ago, will return as KING eternal one day. HE lives in the hearts of the believers. For Beth, and the rest of my family, I want that Hope to abound.

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