When I was a kid, nativity sets were an essential part of the USAmerican Christmas-scape. These sets were mixed and matched and passed down from generation to generation; often far more because of their sentimental value than their quality.
Such transfers were not without tragedies. I remember various and sundry accidents throughout my childhood involving wise men, shepherds and barnyard animals. It was a tough gig to be a nativity character at the House of Bishop in the 70’s. We had a shepherd without a hand, a one armed wise man (I called him Lefty) and a donkey with one ear. Most of our older nativity characters had broken parts glued on with limited amounts of skill and success. In the “Dismemberment of 77” Jesus’ own earthly father Joseph was summarily decapitated when he tumbled from a table in an event for which I am still receiving counseling. No one in my family speaks openly of this event to this day and that rumors of my possible involvement (and the possible use of a dart gun) remain nothing more than unproven allegations. Bible scholars argue that Joseph died when Jesus was young; I pray I played no role in this.
I guess we are all a bit like those mixed up, glued up and beat up nativity sets. We too have been broken, cracked and dismembered from time to time. But here we stand in anticipation of yet another Christmas, not perfect but forgiven, pondering once again the wonder of this new born king!
Praying God will “re-member” all the “dismembered” things in each of our lives this Christmas!
-Shane Bishop is the author of “Exactly as I Remember it” and the Senior Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois.