I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Priceless Christmas Gift



My nativity set is a priceless gift but in a way you might not expect.

I wanted to exalt Jesus to His rightful place as the focus of Christmas instead of the usual decked-out tree stealing center stage. I owned a small, plain wooden nativity that I allowed my young children to play with, but I longed for the fifty dollar crèche at Sam's Club. With six children and one income, the porcelain nativity scene was my only gift that year. But, other than enjoying it on Christmas Day, I kept it in the box until the following year.

The next Christmas, I couldn't wait to unwrap Mary and Joseph from their tissue-paper cocoons and place them on the living room coffee table. Next, I uncovered the wise men and camel and set them to the left of the display. The shepherd, sheep, and donkey were positioned on the right. I carefully put Baby Jesus in the very center. For three days, I enjoyed cuddling my children on the sofa and glancing at the nativity scene in its prominent place.

On the fourth day, one of my children, whose age had reached double digits (so she should have known better), was playing where she shouldn't. She lost a grip on a "flying" beanbag reindeer, sending it across the living room and straight into the scene depicting Jesus' birth. The crash broke off the angel’s wings and Joseph’s head. I stared at the mess, knowing I couldn’t replace either figure without buying an entire set. Frustrated with the childish behavior, I wanted to toss the whole display into the trash.

Unbeknownst to me, another child—with a tender heart and more patience than I possess—spent hours painstakingly reattaching Joseph’s head and the angel’s wings. She used school glue—the only kind available to her, but not the best one for the job—and held the pieces together until they dried.

Now, each Christmas, I view the chipped angel that’s held to the roof of the stable with a rubber band and notice the cracks and chips encircling Joseph’s neck, but I don’t see defects. Instead, I see my daughter’s sacrifice. The one that transformed a couple of broken porcelain figures into a priceless treasure. I remember my daughter's gift which healed a fractured relationship between her sister and me, and I'm reminded of the greatest gift ever given—the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

I wish you a blessed Christmas!

~Roxanne Sherwood

December Contest: We're having weekly contests during December and we're giving away fun prizes! Leave a comment this week and you could win: a journal and a mug containing 3 Starbucks Christmas flavored VIA packets and 3 flavored tea bags. The mug has a photo of an old-fashioned typewriter on it and says: Write your own story. To see a photo of this week's prize, go here.

14 comments:

  1. Oh Rox, I can totally relate! Our Joseph is missing his hand due to an unfortunate accident involving my husband. At first I was furious...I can still hear myself saying, "I can't have anything nice in this house!" (I actually find myself saying that a lot, given I have two sons aged 14 and 12...but I digress...) My son Sam, who was about 5 at the time reattached the hand with what looked to be the majority of a roll of tape. He was so proud. Meanwhile, my older son Spencer (2 1/2 years older than Sam) brought me assortment of objects to replace the hand, including a GI Joe hand and a bulletin board pin. 7 years later, positioning Joseph slightly behind Mary to hide the fact that he is missing his hand has become one of our favorite traditions. We have a good laugh as we unwrap "Lefty Joe" as he is now known. This time of year, it is especially easy for us to be about material things...thank you for the reminder that sometimes the best gifts are selfless acts of love and kindness. Love you, my friend!

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  2. I've heard this story before--and I love it! Thank you for the reminder that relationships are the most important "things" in the world.

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  3. **NOTE**I will announce the names of our first 2 winners of the coffee mugs and journals tomorrow! Stay tuned!**

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  4. You're a sweetheart and overall this piece gives wisdom pointing out that surviving tests with even battle-scarred victory produces enduring treasure with much increased value (at least in our hearts, minds, relationships.) Wishing you every blessing of the Christmas season and New Year.

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  5. I love this story, especially since I know the players. It always make me tear up. Reading this story every year helps me remember what true gifts really are.

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  6. Roxanne, thanks so much for sharing this post! I was blessed by the reminder that childishness may break things here and there (tangible and not), but that love truly does mend broken hearts (and relationships). It is beautiful to read of the selfless acts of your children,and also what Heidi shared. :)

    I appreciate the reminder to look for the most treasured gifts at Christmas--kindness, love and sweet intentions. Merry Christmas!

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  7. Roxanne, you make me want to cry!!! (happy tears of course) What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing that with us.

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  8. Roxanne, thanks for reminding me what's important. And now Joseph and the angel have character!

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  9. Heidi, I loved your story of "Lefty Joe!" Thanks for sharing.

    I couldn't comment earlier today. My internet service has been spotty all week. I don't even know if this will post or freeze up. I'm just giving it a try.

    Thanks to all for your words of encouragement.

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  10. Sorry to comment late, Rocky. Lovely post!! Actually, I was at writing group the other night and some of the ladies were talking about their nativity sets and how taped, glued and chipped the different pieces are after years of kids in the house. Like Pat said, thanks for the reminder about what's important!

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  11. What a precious story Roxanne,and yes, it's all about Jesus, the greatest gift ever given. Lord, we lift you higher as you have broken sin and set us free. You are stronger, you are stronger, you have saved. Jesus you are Lord of all !!

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  12. Belated comment, but terrific post, Roxanne. It reminds me of my Martha moment when my son broke one of my grandma's 80-year-old tea cups. I was heartsick, but more heartsick about my negative reaction to him. I keep the tea cup as a reminder of what's more important--him!

    The other night, I knocked over our pastor's shepherd in their nativity set and decapitated the poor guy. Sigh. I need to knit him a scarf to cover the scars.

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  13. I thought Joseph was about to lose his head the other night. Thankfully, everyone is still whole. :-) But Roxanne, that's a sweet story and a good reminder. And Heidi...that's just hysterical! I'm picturing the GI Joe hand... :-)

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  14. Loved the article. My kids and I were just laughing, because the truth finally came out...the culprit that decapitated my angel topper...last year!

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