Sunday, December 16, 2007

Two Babies in a Manger

~~~~~~~~~Last night my extended family, with siblings (26) joined us in our home for a wonderful turkey dinner with all the trimmings and we all enjoyed playing BINGO, (it became a new tradition.) Remember all ages are included, others were jumping on the trampoline with the lights, but the highlight for me was watching Big Mac play with all the figures from our nativity scene. I just put the nativity scene up this week as my finale to our Christmas decorations.

He would lay all the animals down pretending that they were sleeping and then you could hear them going clickety click as they marched off to Bethlehem. But to see his little head, heart and hands play and act out the story that we have been reading over the last weeks, was indescribable. Keep those traditions that are meaningful and keep stories and values that impact our children alive in their hearts forever.

Our family has grown up in the faith and we always count it a blessing, and yet somehow we all know the Christmas story, so in our order to keep the Christmas story alive we found this beautiful story which has a powerful impact in helping us understand:
"
that it is not what you have in your life, but Who you have in your life that really counts."
If you are looking for something, different, yet with meaning, enjoy a good read. (It's a bit long, but worthwhile.)

TWO BABIES IN A MANGER

In 1994, two teachers answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. The teachers relate the following story in their own words:

It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word.

Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city. Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel (cut from a worn-out nightgown a lady was throwing away), were used for the baby's blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the Canada.

The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6-years-old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger.

Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately -- until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib.

He made up his own ending to the story as he said,

"And when Mary laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with Him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give Him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept Him warm, that would be a good gift." So I asked Jesus, 'If I keep You warm, will that be a good enough gift?' And Jesus told me, 'If you keep Me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave Me.' So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and He told me I could stay with Him -- for always."

As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him -- for always.

And the Teachers? They had learned the lesson they had come there to teach -- that it is not what you have in your life, but Who you have in your life that really counts. We all should give thanks for the people that "keep us"- in life - and for all of God's many blessings to us: freedom from want, life, love, togetherness, and for the enduring love of Jesus Christ, the one person who keeps us warm and safe for always. Author Unknown

May you all find blessings in this Third Advent Sunday and remember that you can have HIM also.

Marg

4 comments:

  1. It's so wonderful to have a manger scene that is child accessible. My friend has one especially for her grandkids to act out the story. The photo of Mac playing with yours is so special.

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  2. So glad the evening went well...and that the Bingo worked out as you had planned. Great picture of your grandchild playing..a wonderful moment in time to capture!

    Elma

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  3. What a touching story about the Russian orphan and the two babies in the manger! It would be great to have someone read it at our family gathering. (I know I wouldn't be able to get through it if I tried to read it!) Thanks for sharing it. Elsie

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  4. Family times are the best...glad you had a great evening. We jsut drove the Coquahala Highway today justy to spend some quality 'Christmas time' with family! And thanks for sharing the story.

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