I love living where I live. There are always enjoyable activities going on- especially now that the holidays are upon us. Just last weekend there was a huge festival downtown. The streets were lined with actual candles glowing (not the fake light bulb in a can kind)and Santa makes his appearance by riding into town on not some boring old reindeer, but one of the ginormous local fire engines with the lights glowing and horns a blowing. All of the shops along the street hand out enticing cookies and warm apple-cider, and it is really a time full of celebration. We’ve enjoyed this tradition since we moved here and it is one of those events that delivers the small-town vibe.
However; there is one thing that I can’t help but have mixed emotions about- and if anyone can enlighten me, I welcome it! Now please don’t think I’m being cynical to religion- because I’m not at all. I am very much all for remembering the true meaning behind our Christmas celebrations. And I do consider myself a very religious person. I’m even a Sunday School teacher- that’s already a free pass into the Pearly Gates, is it not? The thing I just don’t get the big excitement behind or the point: LIVE nativity scenes. I’m talking about using REAL people instead of statues made of porcelain or plastic. They are the kinds that different events and such will advertise: LIVE Nativity Scene from 3-7! Come one and all to see!
So they had one of these Live Nativity Scenes on Friday night in front of one of the old beautiful churches. It was very nice of the people to volunteer their time. They came and sat in their appropriately assigned seats in the manger. Mary and Joseph in robes and rags and a few shepherds scattered about. Mary held a Cabbage Patch doll that represented the big guy himself.
My family and I all joined a group of on-lookers that were already gathered around the scene and we stood there, watching them. Mary and Joseph, no doubt looking for ways to pass the time, carried on a conversation about where to get the latest iphone for the best price. One of the shepherds pulled back his fancy robe on his left arm and checked his fancy digital watch to see how much time of his shift was left. We just kept staring-wondering what the appropriate length of time was to watch. Awkwardness began to creep in. When we felt we had met the polite time requirement, I patted my children in front of me and said, “Okay guys, let’s keep walking. There is much more to see!” (we had already seen it all- I was looking for a polite way to say, "Let's get out of here- I'm feeling uncomfortable now.")
To which my 7 year old son protested and said, “Wait mom, I want to watch this.”
I speculated he thought at any moment a pageant was about to start. While I was happy that something had actually caught his attention long enough to keep him still for over 2 minutes, I regretfully had to inform him that this was, in fact, all that was going to happen. He looked up at me with a confused look on his face as if I had just told him that the color of grass is not really green, but actually has been purple all of these years.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, this is all they are doing.”
“Well, why are they doing it then,” he asked with all of the innocence of a first grader.
“Well…” I stammered. “To show us what it looked like back then the night that baby Jesus was born.”
He watched them for a minute longer in silence. “Hmmm. Okay.” And with that he turned and walked away.
We all followed his lead. I have to think he said it best, as it was just one of those things that made you go ‘hmmm’. Perhaps if there were live animals so we could see camels and cows and such- it would have added a bit to the show?? Though I’m sure it’s not always easy to borrow a camel ‘round these parts.