The baby lay in the manger. He was just a baby. He came here to be just a baby, just a man, human. There was a baby in the manger.
Each year I unwrap the nativities and place them on shelves. The first nativity is a tiny one I bought when I first moved to Dayton to live on my own. It was made in Germany. A small, blonde baby rests on straw. He and his parents are made of light pieces of wood that fit into a box that is about two inches square. The second nativity is one my parents gave me. Plastic Mary and Joseph look over the baby in the manger. At least they won’t break or dent, and are made of a substance that will be here long after the world ends.
The third nativity is Loren’s. It is one from Mexico with a very festive Mary and Joseph. Their dark skin is closer to that of the original baby in the manger. Next is my favorite. It is one I gave to my parents and is from India. It, too, is carved from wood and painted beautifully. Their skin the color of almonds.
The last all-inclusive nativity is made by Precious Moments. A group of white children make up the scene with the last more recent figures being that of a black-skinned harpist and his goat. His color is perhaps the most like the real baby. Quite an assortment, wouldn’t you agree?
A baby. A baby who needed a diaper changed. One who nursed and one who cried. One who was a brother to the following children who ran and played the same as all do. So often we forget that Christ was a man. He was a man of color. He was a man who spoke in a strange tongue. He was Jewish. He came from a foreign country.
The man gave his life. We do not own Christ. That baby did not come to make a name for himself. He came for us to find a new life. He came to experience life. I have Jewish friends, friends from other countries. I have friends who are non-believers and those who are devout. I am not the judge. That baby in the manger is the proof that we are all accepted in God’s sight without judgment from our fellow peoples.
I have several nativities. I put them out every years but I know that the baby in the manger is not what that the manger is about. It is about acceptance of people who spoke another language, about shepherds who lived with their flock in a poor way of life, about humble beginnings in a barn. Yet, kings came to pay homage. All are signs that the baby in that manger was probably a dark haired child who was blessed by them all regardless of who they were.
It is about love. Someone said that you should always say, “I love you,” when you hang up the phone. I agree. I go a step further and signs cards and letters always with love. I hug people I don’t know and tell them I love them, because I was told to love by that baby in the manger. I am not to love only one color of people or only Americans or only Christians. I was told to love all. If you know nothing more about me in my writings, know that I give love freely and with all my heart for it was asked of me in a stable. Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad, my friends. Happy Hanukkah, my Jewish friends. Happy Kwanzaa, my African American friends. I love you. Pass it on.