"For God so loved the
world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16 NKJV)
I have always loved Nativity scenes ever since
I was a boy. I remember growing up seeing the great care my Grandma
always took unwrapping ours. She would gently lift each ceramic statue
out of the box and lovingly arrange them in the tiny, wooden barn. The
baby Jesus was always the last one lifted out and she would always smile
before placing Him in the manger.
It was at another manger too that I saw the most beautiful picture of the real meaning of Christmas. This was years ago when public Nativity scenes were everywhere at Christmastime. It was before the fear of offending others made most of them sadly disappear from parks and town squares. I remember taking a moment to look at one of these public Nativity scenes during a cold, December day. A snow was gently falling on each of the statues and even in the manger. About this time a mother walked up with her young son. The boy couldn’t have been more than three years old. As they too stopped to stare at the beautiful sight the little boy removed his scarf and walked over to the Nativity. Then he folded it and placed it over the manger. He smiled as he walked back and said, "Baby Jesus looked cold." I thought that his mother would make him go back and retrieve the scarf, but thankfully she was made of wiser stuff than me at that time. She just smiled, wiped away a tear, and kissed her son on top of his head. Then leaving his gift of love, they slowly walked down the snow covered street together while the boy happily sang all the words he knew to "Silent Night."
It took a lot of years for me to grow as wise as that child, but when I did I realized that Christmas truly is about Love. It is about a love that is both joyfully shared and unconditional. It is about a love that sacrifices, cares, and gives. It is about loving each other just as much as God loves us at Christmastime and always.
By: Joseph J. Mazzella