When I was pregnant with my first child, it was obvious that the majority of people believe they are “experts” on children regardless of whether they have any or not. A pregnant belly seems to wear a secret sign stating, “Please give me your opinion on pregnancy, birth, doctors, hospitals, breastfeeding and how to raise children.”
One unsolicited opinion was to go through my home prior to my child being born and collect everything of value storing it away. The philosophy believed tiny hands couldn’t resist the temptation to touch, drop and destroy. Another person countered the suggestion by saying the tiny little hands wouldn’t learn not to touch unless they were tempted and taught how to practice self-control. I compromised by putting away valuable heirlooms but leaving the less-sentimental stuff within reach of tiny hands. Not surprisingly, the tiny little ears didn’t always listen to me so the tiny little hands pretty much did what they wanted.
When my first grandchild came along, most of my nick knacks were already broken by my sons’ tiny little hands or their great big bodies wrestling with their Dad. Nothing much made of glass survived the household of predominately males. My preference was never to live in a Southern Living style house. My husband and I prefer the decorating style entitled, “lived in, comfortable and paid in full.”
The exception to the rule is Christmas. I collect Christmas decorations. When my first grandchild was a toddler, he was mesmerized by a very small manger scene. I spent lots of time telling him, “no-no.” His Grandpa and Daddy, on the other hand, weren’t nearly as concerned about the future of the manger scene, so the little boy learned to arrange it in a variety of ways. As he grew and became a preschooler, it was interesting to watch him arrange the manger scene. He seemed to have preconceived notions about how the shepherds and the wise men needed to “worship” Baby Jesus. He also had very definitive plans for the barnyard animals. My granddaughter almost smothered poor little Baby Jesus by piling all characters on top of Him. She didn’t want Him left alone for a minute.
It didn’t take much time before the little hands accidentally dropped one shepherd, then a wise man, and then another shepherd and finally the goat, donkey, and sheep reached their demise. May they rest in peace.
This year as I decorated for the holidays, I very carefully unpacked the small manager scene from its box. As I put the items on display, I realized Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus were present. They were the three figurines that survived all of the tiny little hands. I very carefully arranged Mary and Joseph allowing them to maintain a watchful eye over the Christ child. Then, it hit me. The main characters survived the test of the tiny hands. Joseph was there. Mary was present. Baby Jesus, being the Star of the show, remained quietly tucked away in his little tiny bed. Most importantly, God remains.
Our house is a home and a gathering place. I can’t claim to have all of my nearly 40-year old wedding gifts intact, but I can proclaim God withstood the test of time proving Himself faithful. Glory be to God in the Highest! I am so very grateful for all sets of little tiny hands that reached for that manger scene.
Lord, You are more precious than even that small manger scene. The scope of Your love and protection is the most valuable thing my family owns. Keep us in Your hands and remain with us throughout the years to come. Please bring us more tiny little hands. Amen.