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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas short story’

Away in a Manger

I was excited when Mother said I could put help her unpack the manger scene figurines and them into the creche. Mother says creche is just a different way of saying manger scene–the place where Baby Jesus was born.

Before Christmas, when the time comes for the Christmas decorations, the box for the creche is carefully brought down from the attic with the others. The smell of the Christmas decorations is wonderfully full of pine and promise. The box for the creche is marked–I recognize my mother’s handwriting–so beautiful and curvy.

I mustn’t pull things out of the box too quickly. I have to wait as Mother checks each little bundle wrapped in tissue paper. Not everything in the creche box are put in the manger scene at the same time. The baby Jesus figurine doesn’t go in until Christmas and the three kings come even later.

Christmas music plays softly in the background as it always does at this time of year. Music is just finding its way back after being gone for so many months. Mother hands me a small bundle wrapped in tissue paper–I can open this one. As I gently pull back the tissue, I find it is a sheep. It goes in the barn with the other animals who are watching Mary and Joseph as they wait for Baby Jesus. I gently place it in the back of the stable so Mother will give me another one to open. This time, she gives me a larger bundle–a cow. I wonder when we’ll see Mary or Joseph.

Mother pulls back the tissue on a bundle and then re-wraps it–it is a Magi–she explains that they were the kings from the east who came to see Baby Jesus but they don’t arrive until the Feast of the Three Kings on January 6th.

I watch with anticipation the next little bundle that she pulls from the box filled with tissue paper–this time, she pulls back the edge of the tissue and hands the bundle to me. Gently, I hold the bundle in my hand and pull back the tissue to reveal Joseph. His face is gentle–like my daddy’s. My daddy’s gone to heaven but he had a kind face like Joseph. The figurine is hard and smooth in my small fingers. I have to be careful not to drop any. I want to hold Joseph and look at his face. I still miss my daddy. Mother presses me to put Joseph into the stable.

One by one, we unwrapped the figures. I gently place Mary across from Joseph. The shepherds–one standing with a lamb over his shoulders and the other down on one knee–I place towards the back of the stable–all eyes are on the manger where Baby Jesus will be. The angel which hangs from the front of the manger scene is the final piece–for now.

Mother hurries off with the half-empty box–on to the next task. I stared at the scene–Mary kneeling next to the manger with straw and across from Joseph. They were a mom and dad–it was perfect. My mom didn’t have my dad anymore. We weren’t like Jesus’ family anymore. As I tried to understand my family, a Christmas carol came on the record player: Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where He law, the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

I listened as the words became pictures in my head. Those in heaven were looking
down–like my daddy. He was in heaven–he would be looking down. I wonder if he was looking down at me.

The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying He makes. Love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky, and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

I saw the image of Baby Jesus–so gentle, so good. I wish I could be good like Him. I cry at night even though I shouldn’t. After Mother has come in to our room and said prayers with us, I cry. The empty space in my belly hurts from missing my Daddy. I should be better–like Baby Jesus–no crying He makes.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay close by me forever and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, and take us to heaven to live with Thee there. Those were words from my own heart. Please stay close Lord Jesus–I need someone to love me. Since Daddy left, Mommy doesn’t seem to love us anymore. It would be better if you could take me to heaven to live with You and Daddy there.

In those moments, the magic of the creche wrapped around me. I felt safe. I am not sure how long I stood staring into the scene. The song ended and another Christmas carol washed over me. I knew that my Daddy was near–he was watching over me–he and the Lord Jesus. One day I would go to heaven to be with them there, but it wasn’t today.

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Mary Beth Copyright 2016

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