Good Thing Baby Jesus Wasn't Claustrophobic


One day last year around this time, my then-4-year-old daughter and I stopped by a local Catholic store to pick up a gift. As you can imagine in a Catholic store during Advent, there were several Nativities on display.

While I was browsing the candles, Vaughn was enjoying the Nativity scenes. I noticed she was reconfiguring each set—putting the Baby Jesus in the middle, and forming a close circle around him with the rest of the company [sometimes it’s no small task trying to fit all those shepherds, wise men and animals into a tiny little manger].

Vaughn {proudly}: I’m organizing Mama!

When we were home later I noticed she’d arranged all the five or six Nativity scenes around the house similarly: Baby Jesus was in the center with everyone circled around him tightly. When I asked about it, she said:

Vaughn: Ev-wee-one wants to see Jesus…ev-wee-one wants to be close to him.

I’ve learned a lot from Vaughn in her short life, and this little gem ranks right up there.

During Advent, just like those who traveled to the manger for the first Christmas, we anticipate seeing Jesus. We long to be close to him.

I see Jesus all the time…in my children, husband, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and strangers. In a world where it feels like Jesus is sometimes squeezed out of the season, I’m reminded that he’s really always right smack in the middle, in all the amazing people that touch our lives every day.

May the perspective of my 4-year-old help me keep Christ central in my life—during Advent and all year long. Merry Christmas!

I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS: Do you children enjoy constantly rearranging your Nativity scenes?

Copyright 2011 Julie Filby


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  1. Julie, I loved this column! When Adam was a preschooler, he used to talk about the “nactivity scene” — he thought the wise men were action figures, and played with them as such. I miss those days!! Thanks for sharing this — a precious reminder of what’s most important this Advent season!

  2. Last year when my daughter Hannah was three she lined up all the characters from our nativity with Mary at the head of the line. I asked her what was happening and she told me that Mary was selling tickets to the roller coaster!

    • Thanks Diane, sounds like your daughter was sensitive to the “roller coaster” life that Mary was embarking on, being the mother of Our Lord.

      Dianna, I love that your daughter sent the Blessed Mother on a much-deserved vacation… how sweet.

      Merry Christmas and happy new year! Julie

  3. We have 3 Nativity sets in our house, and like you, my daughter is always rearranging them …. So that everyone crowds around Baby Jesus.

    She also sent Mary on a vacation to Florida 😉

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