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With All Apologies to the Baby Jesus

I’m finding out that nativity sets and toddlers don’t mix.

My oldest daughters have found Baby Jesus... and I’m concerned for His safety.  

It wasn’t really a spiritual discovery.  At least not yet.  The daughters I refer to are two and four years old.  They are too young to fully contemplate religion, deities, and nontraditional forms of conception.  Rather, they physically found the Baby Jesus -- as in our two nativity sets that we assemble each December near our front entryway.  One is an artisan-crafted Filipino nativity made from recycled newsprint.  The other is an equally artistic set handcrafted in Africa from recycled soda cans.  Both are fair trade certified.  Call it piety meets social responsibility.  

Now, as for the tiny Savior’s safety; I often walk past the scene and see something amiss. It could be that they’re all knocked down or turned in odd directions.  Sometimes, Joseph and Mary are looking down at an empty manger, the Prince of Peace missing.  Their expressions remain unchanged (after all, they are only remnants of foreign newspapers and cola cans).  But, as a parent, I can feel their angst - that moment when you realize your child is not where he or she is supposed to be, that they may be in harm’s path.  Today that danger could be a Buick, in 5 B.C. a mule-drawn hey cart.  Same emotions though.         

Once I found the Baby Jesus on the ground, lying on his side under a table.  On the wall, the trickster of Norse mythology, Loki, was flashing his mischievous grin.  Above him, Thor was gripping his hammer with a forlorn countenance.  Around the corner running, clearly knowing she had done something wrong, disappeared my clever and sly two-year old daughter.  You see, this is our dining room where we have pre-Christian era Viking art on the wall. Which is apropos, because I’m coming to realize that Loki and my two year old have a lot in common. So, with Baby Jesus clearly out of place but visibly unharmed, I gently lifted the miniature icon and placed Him back in his yesterday’s newsprint manger.  

In another scene of naivety induced nativity blasphemy, I walked in upon my daughters and their cousin playing with the sets in a rather roughshod manner.  It seemed my nephew mistook Joseph for G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip.  The girls were probably one step away from giving Mary a Barbie outfit and a wig. “No,” I said “these are artistic symbols of Jesus’ birth, not action figures and dolls.  Go play somewhere else” I yelled to their still developing minds as I crossly shooed them away -- which, come to think of it, probably wasn’t very Christian of me.      

They may not yet fully grasp Christian teachings, but they have been taught to listen to Mommy and Daddy.  Of course, even that lesson has not fully sunk in (hence the need for the timeout chair along the wall underneath Loki).  But, when I ask my daughters about the current whereabouts of the Baby Jesus, I receive a knowing look.  They take me by the hand and lead me to the latest scene of the crime, and they point to Him.  We have a little talk, we check for damage, and then we restore the peaceful setting under the Star of Bethlehem (which, for the other eleven months of the year is known as our entryway light fixture).     

So, during this Christmas mass, I will say a little extra prayer on the behalf of my daughters.  I will ask forgiveness for their innocent mishandling of the Baby Jesus.  For they are not heathens, they are not little Judas’.  I’m sure some day they will be appalled at the historical and spiritual actions of Pontius Pilate.  It’s just that, right now, they’re only kids - my kids, my wife’s kids, God’s kids.  They mean no harm or disrespect.   

Still, next year, maybe I’ll get a higher shelf for the nativity sets.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

alice simonson December 12, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Smiles & tears from the wife & mother!
. December 12, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I thought the "baby" wasn't supposed to be in the manger until Christmas. At least that is how the church I went to as a child did it. Would have spared us this long winded article.
Leslie December 12, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I like the article actually. And everyone has their own traditions...whether Jesus is in the manger or not. They still show wisemen at the scene but they wouldn't have been IRL. They wouldn't have encountered Jesus until he was a toddler of two or three years old. I think all traditions of this nature are special and specific to each person's desires.
Susanne Zuelsdorf O'Halloran December 13, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Cute. I know the two toddlers in question and can picture them commiting their "crimes" dressed in fairy princess dresses. Nice piece, Andres.
Shannon K. Winning December 13, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I laughed out loud. Thanks Andres.
Shannon K. Winning December 13, 2012 at 05:35 PM
And I'm sure Jesus did too.
John Hayes December 13, 2012 at 06:23 PM
"...nontraditional forms of conception." LOL!! Very good article. Thanks.
Andres Simonson December 14, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Thanks for all the positive comments. Much appreciated. As for the negative poster, I see you are all about brevity. Not sure if you go by "dot" or "period" or maybe "decimal point" (?) - I wouldn't want to get your name wrong - but Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Debbie December 25, 2012 at 05:25 PM
LOL!! I can totally see this happening in my house! The one thing we do is we have a fisher price manger under the tree. That way the kids (11,8,6,&2) can play with it. I remember wanting so badly to touch our family's porcelain manger when I was a kid and wanted my kids to be able to play with it. They now make plays and have a great time playing with "their manger".

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