We began our time together with a story, a story that is meaningful to me because my mom wrote it, and the little girl in the story is my youngest daughter.
BACK TO BETHLEHEM
By Lillian M. Ewert
Christmas finally dawned. The family gathering at our house always included a Christmas play presented by all the grandchildren which I enjoyed directing. The adults provided the appreciative audience. However, changes had occurred over the years. Some of the grandchildren could not be there and the adult audience had dwindled considerably. Elisabeth’s teenaged sisters no longer looked forward to wearing bathrobes and angel wings. I wrestled with the idea of giving up the Christmas play but struggled to find a fitting substitute to help us focus on the Savior’s birth. As I watched Elisabeth at play, an idea began to stir in my mind.
“Elisabeth, would you like to be Mary and put Baby Jesus in the manger?” I asked.Elisabeth’s eyes lit up as she took my hand and we went into the bedroom to get ready. “Grammy, you be Joseph,” she said. I pinned a blanket around Elisabeth’s shoulders and tied a scarf around her head. I placed the Baby Jesus, wrapped in strips of cloth, into her arms and together we stepped into the living room and slowly walked to the manger. Carefully Baby Jesus was placed in the bed of artificial straw. Mary and Joseph each kneeled beside the manger to admire the Baby. The family began to sing familiar Christmas carols previously taught by Elisabeth’s mother. Sometimes the Baby would be picked up and gently rocked and placed back in the manger. Elisabeth’s eyes shone as she lived out the story that had become so familiar to her in recent days. It became obvious that she loved her role as Mary when she kept her costume on the rest of the day.
As the day drew to a close, the adults remained at the table to talk while Elisabeth, who had been excused, played with her toys in the living room. Before long, I felt a tap on my shoulder and a little voice said, “Joseph, will you come back to Bethlehem with me?” Back to Bethlehem. “A little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).
In the next few weeks, let's take Elisabeth's lead and find our way back to Bethlehem.