Friday, January 4, 2013
Each year as the Christmas season begins to unfold, I cautiously bring from our attic three large cardboard boxes which contain our mantle nativity scene and gently remove the brown paper wrapping from each piece. Whenever I unwrap the baby Jesus, he always welcomes me with outstretched arms as if to say, "I was wondering when you were going to take me out of this box!" I then give him his prominent place upon our mantle alongside Mary, Joseph, and the three wise men.
Throughout the Christmas season, those who enter our home are drawn to the two-to-three-foot figures, their uniqueness, and their beauty, while the set's primary placement in our home helps us remember to keep Christ at the center of our hearts and all our holiday activities.
The nativity is always the first Christmas decoration I display and the last one I put back in the attic. Sometime during the first week of January, I carefully remove it from the mantle, wrap the figures, pack them back in the boxes, and return them to the attic until the next Christmas season.
This year, as I contemplated my annual ritual, I sadly surmised that far too often, I deal with Christ this way in my daily life ~ putting him on display for specific occasions, or during moments of hardship and then, as soon as the occasion or situation passes, quietly tucking him away again. How this must sadden the heart of my Lord! How many opportunities to display Christ have I missed simply because I placed him back in the box to await another season, another occasion, another hardship?
Today I will return our nativity to a dark corner of the attic once again. But this year I am choosing to make a simple change: I will not put Christ back in the box! I will display the Jesus figure in the center of our home throughout the year as a subtle reminder to myself that displaying Christ is not a seasonal event, but a daily necessity.
"No one lights a lamp and puts it in the cellar or under a basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see its light" (Luke 11:33, HCSB).
Jesus came as the Light of the world. Displaying Christ in all that we say and do is vital to our relationship with God, our families, and our fellowmen. It is my prayer for this year that the precious Christ of Christmas will remain in the most prominent position of my heart and yours, never to return to a place of obscure darkness again.
Where have you positioned Christ in your life? Have you given him a place of prominence for all to see, or have you hidden him away? Can you hear him say, "When are you going to take me out of this box?"
Let today be the day! He is waiting with opened arms.