It’s Friday…and a week from today is Christmas! Can you believe it?

What must it have been like 2000 years ago? A week away from her delivery date, was Mary calmly sweeping, or dusting off the tabletop in Nazareth? Did she have everything ready for the new arrival – swaddling clothes, blankets, a place to lay his head? Had Joseph crafted a beautiful cradle for his soon-to-be-born son? A son who wouldn’t use it for a time! Was Mary frantically packing a few things for their quick trip to Bethlehem? Did she think to pack things she would need for her baby, or did she believe she’d be home by the time he arrived? Somehow, I can’t see Mary as ever being frantic – except maybe 33 years later, as she stood beside that rugged, condemning cross watching the life flow out of her Son.

Sometimes it is prudent to put ourselves in the shoes of others and think about things from a different perspective. It can be life-changing. Give it a try!Let me introduce you to another nativity scene…one which triggered those thoughts as I was looking at it. Seriously, I love that I decided (I think God decided for me) to do this Creche Countdown this year. It has brought me such joy, and it has helped me to celebrate Christmas and the birth of my Savior, Jesus Christ – EVERY DAY during December. It’s been a delight!

This is my Branson Creche. Branson is such a popular destination – especially for those of us in the Midwest. My husband and I have gone for the past several Decembers – right before Christmas. We were married on the 16th of December, 47 years ago. As newlyweds, and then as parents, we didn’t celebrate too drastically. For one thing, who goes anywhere in December – too busy, budgets too tight, weather too unpredictable, etc. We would normally just celebrate with a meal out and would take our kids along. We had always said we didn’t HAVE kids to have someone ELSE raise them, so they went with us quite often – even on an anniversary outing. No big deal. We weren’t discounting our relationship and we didn’t mind at all – we were just celebrating with those we loved the most! In our ’empty nest’ years, we finally decided it’d be great to get away for a few days, and Branson called us! We grew to love Branson at Christmastime. There’s just a unique attraction to that little metropolis in the Ozarks. We’d see shows, and we’d explore antique malls, and we’d enjoy the scenic areas around Branson. Such fun.

In one of those recent trips, we were eating at an awesome favorite spot – can’t think of the name, but I’m sure once I describe it, those who visit Branson regularly will KNOW of which I speak! It’s away from the city; an older building that appears to be added on to a time or two. The food is delicious and the portions are way more than necessary, but oh my, is the food worth the trip. We went out one morning for breakfast…and waited a while, but got in. Yay. Should I mention that if you’re NOT there early enough you MIGHT NOT find a parking place. Anyway, we had pancakes that were well past the sides of our plates. The kind you eat from the middle, out, because you can’t start on the edge – it’s sitting on your table! LOL! Great breakfast. Great experience. And, great little ‘shop’ out by the cash register. I found this one-piece nativity for a little bit of nothing (I think it was $5) and decided it needed to come home with me. It’s about 6″ by 6″ and about 2″ front to back. It’s simple, compact, nicely detailed, and it reminds me of our December trips to Branson! Great memories.

Teaser Alert…I got a package in the mail today. It was from a friend in Arizona. A friend who happens to have chosen me (perhaps God was involved in that, too – believe me, He was!) to help her write her memoir! We email back and forth, and we text back and forth as I spend hours and hours working on this project. But, I wasn’t expecting a package from her. As I opened it, I realized what it was! BLESS HER HEART, Amy saw a Gingerbread Creche and said she just HAD to get it for me. I’m blessed. I cannot WAIT to share it with you all very soon. Thank you, Sweet Amy!

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