We bought this crib at a Home where they made tiny clay models depicting the lowly birth of Jesus among other things, but this 12 piece set caught our eye.
Sis Sarai* introduced us to inmates with disabilities: they wheeled in, limped, muttered and some smiled hard. There was Lila, with a withered hand and she beamed like a Lighthouse in the dark proudly displaying each shining member of the crib. She too had worked on these miniatures, the woman said in slow Hindi and some English.
Lila recounted the Bethlehem story, “No be afraid,” her voice shaky from an illness as she mimicked the Angel! One or two inmates yawned. Another looked away. Amazing how a picture can retell an old story and you understand a little more today than ever before.
The details blur then re-assemble.
After all these years I revisit the fearlessness in this round eyed woman with the one little arm, as they sang “Away in a manger” & Silent night, in unsteady candle light. We were at their Carol service; after a Bible-reading Lila prayed simple words of trust in the Lord Jesus who taught her to be unafraid.
Our eldest, Vihan was almost 4 years old that December: I, recovering from a chronic fever knew about Fear from Hospital waiting rooms and labs as my husband and I awaited more of my test results over and over,
here at the Home now, we received the Good News of our Savior’s undying Love as if for the first time, via a ‘destitute’ woman with one good hand and 1000 watt smile;
no special powers to these tiny clay folk still in our celebrations each year;
as we bring out ‘Christmas- decor’ 2021, go cherish the Good News of this Unstoppable Cradle King that no hell could prevail against, for you and me and all for Humanity: lest we forget.
My spirit fills with gratitude that over the years, Christ has not stayed in clay, but has gazed into my life with very real Presence. The reality of Christmas is fantastic: this Christ that grew to take on a Cross, a Resurrection Garden; He would walk through walls to get through to my heart of stone.
May the heart of you be warmed this season, with True Love from the Manger.
* All names changed.