The Nativity Set That Knit Our Lives Together

     Chubby little fingers once wrapped around the knit Nativity pieces plopping them in place as we read about the birth of Jesus. Those toddler fingers that so desperately tried to show reverence while placing Mary and Joseph during the gospel reading would be spotted days later clutching a sheep or donkey while his pudgy legs raced pell mell 'round the living room. Occasionally, even Jesus took off in flight. It was a sight that still lifts the corners of my mouth now while my older, wrinkled hands carefully position the figures into our family Nativity set.

The errant sheep

     Through the years, oldest and youngest sons have vied for who would place which character in their "proper spot". But now that they are young men, they quietly listen as we read the account of Jesus' birth. A familiar tradition in our home.
     Our "child friendly", hand-knit Nativity set has been a treasure in our family since our first year of marriage. It wriggled its way into our hearts at a silent-auction fundraiser for our church.  A middle-aged woman dropped off a nondescript brown box filled with gifts from her heart and hands portraying each character from a traditional manger scene. A lined piece of notebook paper laid flat in front of the set awaiting someone's prized bid.  When Hubby noticed that no one had cast a vote for this precious handiwork, he thought he'd start an enthusiastic run with a bid of his own and have someone announce this obvious treasure.

     Only a couple of meager bids were made for the hand crafted set. Hubby upped the bid one more time. The treasure became ours. Love held our hands and hearts. Knit together like us. We had a Nativity set that represented our new life together.
     When our family grew to include children, we knew we were blessed with a durable, interactive manger set that would put the Word of God in their hands~and, by grace, in their hearts.

     Giving thanks this week to the Lord
     376) for family traditions that have endured the test of time and change
     377) for the Lord's incredible blessing when He set that Nativity apart for us, knowing how it would
             be the heart of our Christmas celebration
     378) for joy in the sorrow~a wedding filled with abundant blessings; a funeral to come that holds
             blessings of a a life now free in the Lord
     379) for Hubby's safe return from a business trip
     380) for little thoughts from friends like homegrown figs and cookies that brightened my day
     381) for the Lord's work in hearts of loved ones on an unsuspecting canvas
     382) for sweet fellowship with friends at the wedding
     383) for the song that brought to my attention that I need to buy presents for those in need
     384) for health returning to all in our family who have been sick
     385) for the love of family and friends
     386) for warm clothes
     387) for a bed to sleep in
     388) for a house that shelters me from the weather
     389) for crisp, cold, winter mornings
     390) for changing seasons

     As we usher in the second week of Advent, the focus is on Christ as our Peace.  We gathered 'round
the candle glow and prayed, "Thank you, Jesus, for coming to give us peace.  We don't have to be troubled or afraid. We can have your peace in our hearts. Help us to experience your peace this Christmas and not to be so rushed or busy that we miss you. May your peace guard our hearts and minds as they are focused on you. Help us be messengers of peace in a world that has difficulty finding peace. Amen"
     Our Scripture reading was 2 Peter 3:8-14.

     May your Advent be filled with great expectations and worship of our King of Kings.

     "And they will live securly, for then His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
     And He will be their peace." Micah 5: 4b & 5 NIV (capitals, mine)

     Is He your peace today?

From My Heart to Yours,

Linking with the Gratitude Community at Ann Voskamp's Holy Experience

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