My Life with God

The Setting of Christmas


I have several nativity sets. I’ve written about them in past years. But not my bug nativity. It’s one of my favorites.

My youngest daughter brought it back for me when she served in Cambodia. It’s made from jingle bells. It was small enough, light enough, and sturdy enough for her to bring home. It is mostly special because of the memory of her perseverance and humility to serve. I appreciate that someone made the nativity halfway around the world, and I sometimes imagine those hands and pray for them and those they live and work alongside.

I also like the quirkiness of the nativity. There are three wise men, two sheep, Mary, and Jesus. No shepherd to watch the sheep. No Joseph. My daughter and I have made up stories that make us giggle as we think about the discrepancies. Plus, baby Jesus jingles. I call him my jingle Jesus. He is the only jingle bell that actually jingles in the set.

The significance is not lost on me.

This year all my Christmas decorations needed new places in my new home. My bugs fit perfectly not far from the tree. I decorated in the daylight and didn’t imagine how the darkness would affect their appearance.

I have trees that light up on a schedule I set, and mine are set to light up around the time I typically get home from work. They seem to warm up my home and greet me. One of the first evenings, I walked into the living room and noticed the silhouettes of the nativity.

If the lights were not behind the nativity, they might reflect a small bit of light from nearby, but they would not stand out as prominently.

Background matters. The setting matters.

As we move into the holiday season, consider the setting in which you’ve placed Christmas. How prominent is it? Where do you place it, and what surrounds it?

Background matters.

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