Epiphany is my favorite holiday. Each year I organize a parish Epiphany fair so everyone can share my enthusiasm and have some good ‘ole fashioned family fun.
That morning when I left early for Mass I mentioned to my barely awake husband and four-year-old twins, “Today’s the day! The wise men have come to see baby Jesus! You can add them to our manger scene!”
At the end of a long day I took a look at our manger scene. It wasn’t like I usually arranged it: Mary and Joseph on each side of Jesus, the animals in the back, some shepherds off to one side. Instead, baby Jesus was inside a circle of nativity characters and animals.
“Oh, that’s interesting,” I remarked to the boys. “Why did you arrange the manger scene like that?”
“Well, we thought it wasn’t fair that some of them get to be right by baby Jesus while others are far away,” said one son. “I don’t even think everyone can see Him. This way everyone can see Him and everyone gets to be near Him.”
I smiled as the wisdom of a four year-old surpassed the thoughts of thousands of others who have set up nativity scenes in the previous decades and centuries.
Everyone in the nativity scene knew the secret. This baby was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He was God’s own son! Everyone would want to be near Him, to adore Him, to worship him (even the animals).
Next year I think I’ll let my children set up the manger scene however they want.
(Cindy Clefisch, former Faith Formation Director, St. Luke the Evangelist Parish)