Every Christmas I put out the manger scene that has been in my family for about 75 years. The old figurines are beautiful but most of them are showing wear, and you can easily see that many of them have been broken. Both the shepherd and the angel are missing their legs. Years ago my grandmother fastened cardboard to the bottom of each so they won’t fall over. One of the sheep is creased with cracks showing it has been glued back together. The other has uneven feet and must lean against the shepherd for support. And the donkey, he’s a mystery. I believe his tail has been pulled and he looks sort of… well, chewed on. I’m sure if I took this bunch of characters to the Antiques Road Show they would be declared of little value because of their flaws.
In the past I tried to hide my broken manger scene figures behind the more perfect ones or behind some greenery, but lately I am letting them show, because they perfectly represent the value God places on a broken and imperfect person like me. They inspire me to sing about the fact that I have been invited, cracks and all, to partake of every good thing God offers me through Jesus. They remind me that Jesus has made me whole and has given me the grace to stand with joy in his presence.
Timothy Keller says that “there is no good reason for God to care about us. But amazingly he does. He doesn’t love us because we benefit him in some way. How could we? He loves us simply because he loves us (Deuteronomy 7:7). That’s why we praise Him.”
Merry Christmas, from our home to yours! – Jake and Dana Huffman