Sacred Viewing at the Manger

madi's creche2Symbols are important in our spiritual formation.  Ever pointing to icons and sculptures and artwork, Henri Nouwen has introduced us to the concept of “visio divina”, sacred viewing.

madi's creche4Even so, the creche or nativity scene (first developed by St. Francis in 1223).

Our nativity scenes vary.  There’s the one from my childhood, a simple Sears & Roebuck product.  We’ve accrued pieces to a scene started by gift money from the second church we served, in Orange, TX in the late 1980’s.  There’s a scene bought during a trip to the Holy Land.  One painted and fired by a gentleman during early ministry years.  A daughter brought us set from a trip to Mexico.  Kathy purchased another in San Antonio.  And, of course, there’s the cherished Charlie Brown nativity scene, Snoopy and all.

And oh, how we hope — how we earnestly pray — that their presence amongst all the comings and goings in these next days will symbolize and “remind us of the humble birth of Jesus.”

Along these lines, the United Methodist Book of Worship has a lovely blessing you might take a moment to pray over your own creche.  It encompasses our hope that our focus at Christmas will be about the “main thing”: the gift of the Christ child.

God of every nation and people,
from the very beginning of creation
you made manifest your love.
When our need for Savior was great,
you sent your Son to be born
of the Virgin Mary.
To our lives he brings joy and peace,
just mercy and love.
Lord, bless all who look up on this manger.
May it remind us
of the humble birth of Jesus,
and raise up our thoughts to Him,
Who is God-with-us and Savior of all,
and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

–UM Book of Worship,
Blessing of a Nativity Scene

 Kathy and I pray that, as focused in the manger of Bethlehem, these days would deliver God’s joy and peace, justice, mercy and love to you and yours!

2 thoughts on “Sacred Viewing at the Manger

  1. wendycrom says:

    We have multiple nativity scenes scattered about our home too.i loved the free play that Madison enjoyed as part of her Christmas celebration. I’m sure that the holy family was only engaged in blessing your candy, and I’m happy that Ernie was happy to give his gift of a ride. Wishing all of you a blessed Christmas and a peaceful new year.

    • Jim Reiter says:

      I appreciate your positive spin on the Holy Family at the Kissie bowl. They are among my addictions. Maybe that’s why I imputed such a negative caption.

      Yes, Madison brought joy to our Christmas (as she still does). Another image from that year was one of the sheep feeding at the manger with the baby Jesus in it. Looked like it was kissing Jesus. I used it, along with these other images, in that year’s Christmas Eve message on the “Bread of Life” coming to us in Bethlehem (which in the Hebrew is “house of bread”)…

      Blessings on Your Holy Days!

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