Have you seen this meme floating around on social media? That’s where I found it (and no, I don’t have a peanut creche!). I’m sharing it for my pastor friends – you know who you are – who can easily relate, I’m sure! One can NEVER own too many books. Am I right? My mother would have agreed. She collected books to a MUCH greater degree than I collect nativities! I have an uncle who suffers the same malady, but no names will be mentioned!

So, what’s your extravagance? What is it that YOU don’t seem to get enough of? Do you collect coffee mugs? Or bears? Or spoons?

I’ve spent much of the last few years downsizing. First, for my mother, after her death (yes, all those books). Then, Jim and I decided to move after living in the same home for nearly 35 years (a task not for the faint of heart). That was an eye-opener – a lot can be stashed away in 35 years. Why are we such keepers? I seriously don’t know! We filled a dumpster or two as we prepared to move. Other things had to go, but no creches! By the way, check out my three-part blog about our marathon move, if you’re interested. But, back to my Creche Countdown.

I mentioned today’s feature in an earlier post – my Chunky Creche. I bought this one about 15-20 years ago and to tell you the truth, I have no idea where. Both the stable and the characters are heavy – clay, perhaps? Or ceramic? I’m unsure. Interestingly, the details are scribed or carved into the surface, very delicately, not just painted. Can you see the snowflakes on Mary’s head covering? The design is carved in before it’s painted, as are the stripes on Joseph’s head covering and the hem of his robe. Each little pair of eyes (and eyebrows) are imprinted. And, notice – no noses or mouths. Only eyes. Cool details on this set, signed by Sue Allemand.

The creche didn’t have an angel until recently, and though it didn’t come with the chunky characters it belongs there now. A friend, Eloise, passed away a couple of years ago. Her family made some of her angels available to friends at her visitation, and I chose this one to remind me of my sweet, kind, enthusiastic, and spunky friend! (Thanks, Weezy!) It fits perfectly, don’t you think? She would!

The stable was also a late addition to this creche, but doesn’t it look great? I love how the right pieces come together even if I don’t have them all at the same time. What I especially love about this stable is the message it proclaims, loud and clear!

Wise Men Still Seek Him!

Think about it. The wise men couldn’t WAIT to find Baby Jesus. They saw the star, and they were on it, big time! No dilly-dallying around for these guys. They traveled far, and over a period of time, just to come and worship the infant King. Now, that should give us all pause! Are we as focused? As motivated? As eager to find Christ and worship Him?

Several McPherson College Spanish students were Mexico-bound for Interterm 1975. I served on Mac’s staff at the time though I was the same age as the senior class. At the last minute, another driver/chaperone was needed. Jim and I jumped at the chance, loaded our 1974 Dodge van (customized with fisheye windows and shag carpet), and headed south to experience the culture in and around Mexico City with this lively group, fluent in Spanish. We saw pyramids and bullfights, museums and mummies, outdoor markets, and downtown parks. A week later we left the students at San Miguel de Allende for classes and headed to the border, alone, and knowing very little Spanish between us.

While in Mexico City, we visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (the old one, built between 1695-1709). This Roman Catholic church (and national shrine) was stunning! Amazingly breath-taking! I approached it as any good tourist, camera in hand, entering through the tall metal gate, and crossing the open expanse of concrete which surrounded the basilica; concrete sometimes filled with worshippers. I continued, walking toward the doors of this impressive, GINORMOUS, historic building. Other tourists were there, too.

But here’s what impacted me: Devoted Catholics also approached the basilica that day, but with a strikingly different demeanor. As I looked around I saw many people on their knees. Not just kneeling in one spot, but kneeling as they approached the entrance. Kneeling, out of sheer reverence! Their knees, raw and bleeding, as these faithful ones crossed the concrete area to the entrance. Their blood stained the steps. I saw it.

We were told some of these weary travelers had probably walked for days to get here; coming to worship the same Christ child as the wise men of old. Coming to worship a newborn King.

Think about it. How did those chunky wise men approach the stable after so long a journey? What about the chunky shepherds? Was there a hush in that stable that day? Was there a sense of reverence as they approached Baby Jesus? Did they bow and worship the infant King? What about me? How do I approach the Christ Child, day in and day out? Do I pause to fully understand Who He is? Do I worship with reverence?

Now, I don’t believe God sits on His throne watching to see whose knees are the bloodiest. I don’t think He cares whose hands are lifted highest in worship on Sunday mornings either. He didn’t give extra credit to the wise men who traveled so far, nor did he discount the shepherds who were nearby, watching their flocks. This is not a competition, folks. God looks at the heart.

The reverence I observed 45 years ago truly humbled me. I’ve never forgotten it. I’m forever thankful God knows my heart!

May yours be tender and reverent as we approach this season and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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