We found the perfect white spruce in the National Forest in that state past the edge of the Frontier. The girls cut the tree down with a saw one of them had carved. The older kids hopped on top of the van to wrestle the lashings while the little girls tottered in the snow looking for all the world like fuchsia marshmallows.
It was the day after Thanksgiving, and the bin of Christmas decorations had been dug out of the garage. The tree was decorated, and the little girls were setting up the nativity scene. Joseph was flying around the roof of the stable, hanging out with the hovering angels. The donkeys and the sheep gathered to keep each other warm (it was negative 24 degrees outside), and the stable was falling down around Mary’s ears.
The manger, however, was empty.
We searched the bins. We looked under the couch cushions, checked the baby’s pockets, accused the dogs.
“Oh, wait,” one of the girls said. “I know where He is.” We heard rummaging, the clicking of pencils, the tumbling of whatsits and keys. She came back holding up the treasure. “Baby Jesus was in the junk drawer. I’ve seen Him there all year.”
The adults laughed and then turned to look at each other with wide eyes. A plastic sermon in the hands of a child.
“Hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ Acts 2
As you pack up the lights and the angels this year, may you know the full gladness of the Savior’s presence year round!