..."and this will be the sign to you: You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
A very long time ago I went on a college-sponsored trip to Israel and saw all the usual things tourists see in The Holy Land. Since I was a student, I didn't have a lot of money to buy souvenirs but when we were in Bethlehem, I did get a set of small nativity figurines carved from olive wood. These figures are roughly-crafted and are crudely made. Some of their eyes are a little crooked and they wobble a bit, but I can't part with them because they were a sentimental purchase. All these years my nativity figures have never had a stable.
When Marty and I first met and we were putting up his Christmas decorations, he pulled out a little stable that a family friend had crafted for him from a walnut tree that had grown in our yard. The stable was quite rough, but cleverly crafted. There were no figures or animals to go with it though. I took a deep breath when I saw Marty's stable because I could tell that my nativity figures would fit quite perfectly with it.
I own a beautiful sparkly jeweled ceramic nativity set, but most years it remains in its box. The little rough walnut stable with the crudely crafted olive wood figures is just too sentimental. The Christmas story is all about imperfect persons in a less than desirable setting, but it, like my little nativity, is just perfect.
During this Christmas season may we see your perfection in our imperfection.
Thank you for our own very beautiful stories that show your work in our lives.
To the Writers
of this devotional: