When I was a little girl (and maybe still now) I was known to remove baby Jesus from my mom's nativity set until Christmas Day. I always contended that he wasn't yet born, so we should wait until his actual birthday to place him in the manger.
As a wedding gift my aunt and uncle gave us the Willow Tree Nativity set. I've always loved it, and I can't wait to get it out every year around Thanksgiving. The only thing I wish was different is the fact that baby Jesus is attached to Mary. I always joked that I would just buy the pregnant Willow Tree figure and place her in the nativity until Christmas.
The first Christmas after we started trying to get pregnant my husband bought it for me stating that we'd use her as Mary, and always remember that we got her when we were first trying to start our family. He also added that once we got pregnant we could leave her out year round. Great, it was both functional and a nice sentiment. I loved the idea.
Last year when I was putting away the nativity set I didn't put the pseudo Mary back with the rest of the nativity thinking that I would be able to put her out again before Christmas. Surely I would be pregnant by then. Ha. In the last year I ran across "Mary" several times and each time it stung a little more that she was still boxed up and my womb was still empty. So I put her someplace where I wouldn't be constantly running into her. As I'm sure you've guessed... I can't find her!
So this year, baby Jesus is out before Christmas. Its OK, he should be the centerpiece of this season. I've always loved this Christmas decoration, but this year it has become my favorite. Just looking at it I am reminded that the God I worship and serve is capable of some pretty amazing things. What He has in store for us is more than we can hope for or imagine.
It is easy to get caught up in the consumerism that Christmas has become. This year I am simplifying. I am reminding myself daily what this season is really about, and finding time to be thankful for the miracle birth of a baby boy. A baby who was born to a woman who hadn't tried to become pregnant. She hadn't taken her temperature every morning to see if she was ovulating. She hadn't made an appointment with her Reproductive Endocrinologist. She wasn't eating pineapple core or testing for ovulation. Instead she was a virgin. If God is capable of a miracle of this magnitude, just think what he can do in our lives.