Saturday, December 18, 2010

Springing Baby Jesus

The Roberts family has a confession: We unintentionally prevented our own Baby Jesus from being born into our nativity scene last year. Not only that, but poor Baby Jesus has been estranged from his family for a whole year now! While the rest of His family was packed up and stored in the basement, He was left alone, but with us, in the dining room.

Let me explain!

As is custom in my family, we don't place Baby Jesus in the nativity scene until Christmas Eve. I've started my own little tradition with my family that we videotape the ritual of the kids singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus in our Christmas Eve Mass finery as we place him in the barn with Mary and Joseph, the Wise Men, the angel and the animals. It's a great way to show the kids the true reason for the season -- that, more than anything, Christmas is about Christ's birth. It's also extra special for me because I'm lucky enough to be using a wooden nativity scene hand-crafted by my dear late Grandpa Strahler.

Well, last year, there was a bit of a snafu. We did our traditional trip to visit Shrek's stepmom Christmas Eve morning. Our trip ran a bit long, and we were in a hurry to get ready for our afternoon Mass, during which I sang with my family. When we got back home for a respite before the Christmas Eve party at my aunt's, Max was super whiny. He'd fallen asleep and woken up a bear, which isn't altogether out of the ordinary for him.

So we were hurrying a bit, gathering food, Christmas PJ's and the like, and I remembered we needed to do our traditional birthday party for Baby Jesus. Camera? Check! Kids in finery? Check! Baby Jesus.... Baby Jesus? Well, He was (and still is) easily viewable inside the glass window of the china cabinet. But, where was the key???

After a search, we found the key, broken into parts by one of the Roberts kids.

Sadly, there was no way to birth our very own Baby Jesus.... He was kept in limbo, the Blessed family waiting. And the Roberts family was sheepish. Poor Baby Jesus! To be stuck in the china cabinet on the night of his birth! To have the Wise Men ready with gifts and to miss His moment to shine!

But, then Max puked on his finery, Mammaw Donna offered to stay home with him and the rest of us went on our way for Christmas Eve tradition.

Annnndddddd? Well, It's been a year.

Baby Jesus is still in the china cabinet. We found a skeleton key that didn't work. But I hear a rumor that the local Ace Hardware has a skeleton key for sale. And today's mission, in an abstract thought in my brain, was to go buy that key and, hopefully, spring Baby Jesus.

Alas, the morning was busy, the afternoon a long choir practice, and then? I crashed. I felt green around the edges, landed on the love seat and didn't get up until I realized my kids were so hungry that even Colby was fetching his own string cheese out of the fridge. Shrek was away, hunting his one wife-allowed day of the "extra deer hunting weekend." (Really? REALLY?!?)

So, here I sit, thinking the Ace Hardware store might still be open, but unable to motivate enough to make that trip. But I will. And I hope it works. Because this is a new year, a new birth, and I want to reunite Baby Jesus with his Roberts nativity family.

I want to spring Baby Jesus! I want the Roberts birthday celebration tradition to resume.

I want to strive to keep Christ in Christmas as much as possible, and, for me, that means Baby Jesus making His miraculous appearance in the world and in my dining room nativity scene...

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