In Search Of The Nativity

Krippe crib family w 3wisemen

I decided a couple of months ago that I needed a new nativity. I already have two. One is a cut crystal and the other solid white ceramic. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought those sets. I mean, they are pretty and everything but, they are almost too pretty, if you know what I mean. I wanted something a little more real…well, as real as a nativity scene can be.

My first hunt for the nativity was on Black Friday. I know, not the best night (early morning?) to be looking for a nativity. I just need to say that Wal-Mart had exactly two nativity scenes. One was a snow globe and the other was a plastic ensemble that was a scary scene of molded plastic and vibrant colors that made the baby Jesus look clownish. Sigh. Not want I wanted at all. I would wait for something better. Something more.

Today I set off with my son and daughter to find a nativity. One with a stable and with people that did not look scary. We headed over to the antiques stores in the quaint little town of Mount Victory, Ohio. I figured (hoped?) that we would be able to find a vintage nativity scene. I told the kids on the way there that it would be great if we could find one that had been made in Italy, and was made with paper mache‘. The ones made in Italy seem to be more realistic and are painted nicely. I didn’t know that we would really find one, but I hoped.

The first store, and the kids spotted some nativities. The second one that was found, was made in Italy and it was made from paper mache’. It was meant to be! I was so excited.

In the hustle and bustle of this Christmas season, I was reminded. The holy scene in the stable, is still here. The scene of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus is just as real this afternoon as it was over two thousand years ago.

Sometimes it just takes quietly looking for it. Persevering. Remembering.

You know what?  I believe Jesus was delighted that I found that nativity scene this afternoon, on the shelf of that old store.

He was there waiting for me…

just as He waits, for each of us, to find Him.

Learning To Simplify

Hilly landscape in Val d'Orcia.

Image via Wikipedia

It started this morning. I’ve got things on my mind. Schedules. Dates. Things coming up. Holiday events. Planning. I have much to do before the end of the year. It occurred to me this morning that it’s already NOVEMBER 2nd! Two months from now we will already be into the new year. Good grief! Where does the time go? What moments have I let slip by because I’m always thinking about tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month. Or a year from now…

Breathe.

Sigh.

It’s happening again. I feel like a freight train that is out of control, barreling down the tracks, heading for an unknown destination….one bump and I’ll be derailed.

Breathe again.

Another sigh.

I was looking through a favorite house site, and noticed a clip from the movie, Under The Tuscan Sun. Regardless of how one feels about this movie, it does give a good example of a woman who was looking for something different for her life. She left the States, and while vacationing in Italy, bought and restored a rundown house in Tuscany. She found friendship, laughter, and meaning for her life, in the midst of it all. Her life became much more simple.

After seeing that clip, I took a few minutes to dig through my old journals until I found the one that I was looking for. A small black book, with a simple title. “SIMPLIFY”.  I think that says it all. I looked back through it to see what I had written. It was sort of a workbook of how to simplify. I smiled at some of the things I had written, and shook my head at others. Simplifying is a process…and, I am not there just yet.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life.” —Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Earlier this year, I read Ann Voskamp’s, One Thousand Gifts. She talks a lot about slowing down, savoring each moment, and giving thanks. I truly enjoyed her book. It has been a “life changer” for me, not because I have it all down perfectly, but because that is something that I long for. It helps to know that there are other people out there that feel the same way.

The Lord tells me in His word not to worry.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34  NIV

I will be completely honest and tell you that I struggle with that verse. I know that God loves me more than the birds of the air, and the flowers of the fields, but when I’m facing decisions and feeling pressed for time, it’s easier to worry. Not that it does one bit of good, mind you, but I never said it made sense.

Another deeper sigh.

The more I try not to worry, to deliberately simplify, the more anxious I get. Sometimes it seems like a vicious cycle.

I think Ann was onto something …it’s impossible to worry if one is giving thanks to God. If I’m busy thanking Him for all things, I won’t have time to worry about the small stuff. It seems so simple, but really it is true. It is a discipline, though.

A discipline that  I continue to work on because I want this so badly.