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Where Is the Baby?

170. Where Is the Baby?

In our family over many years as we set up the manger scene during Advent, we hid the baby Jesus, since from a logical point of view he would not be in the manger until Christmas morning. Sometimes I hid the baby. Sometimes one of my children would hide the baby. We started this tradition when we lived in an A-frame house in Pomona, NY and there was a year when someone hid the baby, and on Christmas morning had forgotten the hiding place. That made an interesting Christmas Day because every once in a while things came to a stop while we all hunted for Jesus. (I’ve always wondered if the person who bought that house ever found him.)

Seven or eight years ago I heard the story of another family who hadn’t observed that tradition and was setting up the manger scene. The mother came back to the livingroom to find the manger empty. A short while later she opened the bread box and found the baby there. She asked her nine-year-old. His explanation was simple: My teacher in Sunday School said that Jesus is the Bread of Life. I thought he shouldn’t be in the manger until Christmas so I put him in the bread box.

That solves the problem for me of not remembering. Now I put him in the kitchen drawer that would be the bread box if I actually kept bread there. Then I know where the baby is on Christmas Day. And actually on the day after Epiphany when I take decorations down, I put him back there until next Advent.

A poignant aside: I do the ordering for the World Mission Gift Shop at our church and much of it comes from an organization called SERRV. A few years ago SERRV changed its name to A GREATER GIFT and I have a little dark green box that holds the baby and proclaims on the outside of the box— A GREATER GIFT.

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