by M. Jolaine Szymkowiak

When We Look into the Manger, What Do We See?
M. Jolaine Szymkowiak

With the expectations of Christmas, there are a lot of emotions and memories. There are so many things that may or may not be able to be accomplished before the expectant day. There hardly seems to be a time to sit back, catch my breath after a very fast, hard, challenging last few weeks of the year, and see the beauty of the season.

I have cleaned my home and decorated the rooms with all sorts of things that remind me of Christmas. One of the first things to be put out is the crèche, the manger scene I have saved from one generation to the next. It is old and familiar, each piece a loving reminder of Christmases past. What does it hold for today? Is this just another decoration? Just a time to put up and take down Christmas decorations?

The nativity scene is placed usually on the mantel or under the tree, or on a coffee table in the center of the room in front of the couch. The tiny figures of Mary, Joseph, an angel, the shepherds, and some animals have lovingly been placed around the manger. Expectantly awaiting the Baby Jesus. Soon on Christmas Eve, it will be time to put the Baby Jesus in the manger.

Then the Sundays of Epiphany and the coming of the wisemen. The wisemen are present from the beginning, traveling on their way around the room to be at the manger on Epiphany Sunday. The crèche stays assembled during the season of Epiphany and is then put away. Some visitors inquire about the whereabouts of the wisemen; children find them most readily and wonder why they aren’t already present at the manger scene. Each question is answered, and the expectation of Christmas continues always returning to the manger.

When we look into the manger, what do we see?

We find Mary and Joseph as proud parents; however, also we see the awe and reverence bestowed upon this Child; this wonder of God; this magnificent gift of this Child. What all would this birth mean for them? What a respo ...

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