Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sending My Heart in a Box

My heart goes in one of those postal service priority mailboxes a few times a year when I send one of our daughters, Sarah and Anna, their birthday presents.

Recently, my heart entered a box for a different reason. In July 1978, when I was eight months pregnant with Sarah, Mike was one of the pastors at the First United Methodist Church in New Castle, Indiana. One day we drove several boxes of donated clothing to an organization, Church World Service, located in Nappanee, a city in the northern part of the state.

After we delivered the boxes, we visited the agency gift shop that sold items from third world countries. We decided to purchase our baby's first gift that day, a wooden nativity set made in the Holy Land. Not knowing our baby's gender didn't matter as we prayed that the representation of Jesus' birth would become a treasured part of our child's holiday season.

Through the decades, the small nativity was displayed on the kitchen table next to the Advent wreath. Sarah learned the story of our travels that day, as I told her each year when we put out the decorations.

Sarah is getting married next May. Deciding this year that it was time for the nativity set to go to Sarah, I carefully wrapped it in white tissue paper, and put in in the postal service box.

Holding the nativity one more time, looking at the wooden animals, Mary, Joseph and Jesus, I remembered our experience that warm summer day, looking through the store trying to find "the perfect gift" for our child. I thought about all of the parsonages where the manger was displayed.

Now that Sarah is getting married and will soon have her own home, it's time for the nativity purchased with great love 37 years ago to begin a new life and start a new history with Sarah and Ryan.

Prayer: God, thank you for a symbol that represents the joy I felt carrying Sarah as I imagined Mary's joy giving birth to your Son. Bless this nativity as it moves to a new home, carrying my love and blessing for a Merry Christmas to Sarah and Ryan. Amen.

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