| Eusebius (Guillaume Piolle). (Own work)|
[GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or
via Wikimedia Commons
Well...no. Call me a liturgy Nazi, (you won't be the first), but today is December 7 and we are in Advent, not Christmas. We will have twelve full days of Christmas, but this isn't one of them. The thing is, this season is all about anticipating and preparing for his birth (and his coming into our hearts and his second coming...but that is different post). In our liturgical drama, he hasn't been born yet. We are preparing ourselves for his arrival(s).
So it really doesn't make much sense for him to be tucked, however lovingly, into the manger right now, does it?
I won't come into your home and steal your Baby Jesus away (really, I promise)...but might I impose upon you to consider tucking him away in a special place until Christmas Eve? Might I encourage you to take some time to long for his presence? To build some anticipation? To seek after him and learn what it is to be watchful?
The progressive nativity, in which the scene gradually unfolds and changes over time to fit our present place in the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany drama, is gaining in popularity these days. I think this is a good thing, and is a sign that traditional church year observance is gaining in appreciation.
|Eusebius (Guillaume Piolle). (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
Right now, Mary is the only figure in our creche. (Well, actually, I lied. there is a donkey out.) Next to her burns a small votive candle, "Mary's candle." Jesus is present with us in Advent, but not yet in the flesh. Mary is carrying Our Lord under her blessed heart. We are looking forward to his birth. We cannot hardly wait. What a gift he is; what a priceless gift. When he arrives, the Baby Jesus figure will be placed in our creche and there will be no more need for the votive. Jesus, the light of the world, will be in our midst.
God bless the makers of creches with removable babies. Seriously, I love that. I would bake them all Christmas cookies if I could. (Assuming that they are not all Chinese Buddhists or something...well, maybe even then. Who says Buddhists don't like Christmas cookies? But, I'm getting off track here.)
As time goes on, additional figures will be added to our nativity scene. The shepherds will appear on a distant table across the room. After the birth of our Lord, they will arrive at his cradle. The Magi aren't even in the picture yet.
We do have a large "static" nativity that is all one piece. There is no removing the Baby from that one, so I wrap him up in gold paper like the gift that he is. He gets unwrapped on Christmas Eve. Okay, I'm more than a little nutty, but you already knew that.
It's pretty difficult to live Advent in our modern culture. It just isn't done by many people. The little things, though, we have control over. There are little things that we can do to allow the story to gradually unfold.
Just a thought, from the liturgy Nazi.
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