Caring – Look, See, Pray

A small boy who cared. A lady made out of wood. So what?

Over the next week, most of us will see or pass by Nativity scenes. Small figurines, painted scenes where a woman named Mary will be there with a newborn son.

How many times will we actually notice? Or care?

Just part of the scenery, a sweet tableau for sweet baby Jesus. Easily ignored…

My photo was taken at Hampton Court, where a great effort has been made to “bring history alive” for the visitor. You can “help” roasting meat on a spit in front of a roaring fire. Watch as people in historically accurate clothing do what the servants used to do. And you can pass the time of day with wooden dummies in the courtyard.

Let’s call this kid Henry. (I don’t know Henry from Adam! He was simply there on the day.)

Henry saw the “lady” sitting still, looking sad and lonely. So he went over to talk to her, and help her feel better. He cared. Of course, we adults patronise Henry, “How cute is that?” whilst the other half of our brain sneers “Stupid boy! Grow up, it’s a dummy, she’s not REAL.

But she is. She’s a memory of a real woman who worked her socks off so King Henry-of-many-wives-VIII could enjoy life. She had a hard life with few luxuries and little appreciation. That’s real.

Well then… that Nativity you “saw” today, or put in your window for Christmas. Did you take the time to notice the real Joseph, Mary, and Jesus? What about the next Nativity scene you see? Little figures, probably with a donkey and an angel, that are REAL. Memories of the earth-shattering event when God “clothed himself” with human-ness, became a REAL boy born to a young Mum in Bethlehem. It’s the most real story ever told!

Some people may patronise us: “How nice that you care about Christmas and Jesus… Come on, have a mince pie and another drink. Those are only dummies…” (adding under their breath) “And so are you.”

It’s time to pick our reality. “To care or not care, that is the question…” (as Shakespeare almost said as he smoked a Hamlet cigar).

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.Luke 2 v1-7

Who cares?

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