This is the picture of my boy’s nativity set.  I bought it for them when they were small.  They would lie down on the floor and have ‘shoot ’em up’ games.  Little know fact  that the Wise Men and the Shepherds had a long-running feud, which the ‘angel boys’ in the Owens’ home chose to participate in.  I’m still not sure who won out…but, I seem to remember the Wise Men had more to bargain with.

A post by my friend, Jill, brought this memory back to mind and I wanted to share it.  I began to notice that Baby Jesus would disappear all day…leaving the manger empty, just the hay.  I didn’t know where he was going, or who he was going with.  But, late in the afternoon, he would reappear.  Spending the night in his manger next to his Mama, only to take another day trip the next morning.  This went on for several weeks.  I didn’t say anything, because, he was always returned…and this was their Nativity set, after all.  All I knew, for sure, was that one of my boys was taking Baby Jesus with him as He ventured out into the world.  To school, to play ball in the afternoon, to do homework…all the things that little boys do.

I finally discovered who the culprit was when I was washing the 5th load of blue jeans, which was a natural occurrence around our house.  I had talked to the boys over and over about taking things out of their pockets…but for some reason, I was talking in a foreign language, because they never understood it.  And, that day,when I reached in and pulled out the wad of stuff in a pocket…there he was.  Laying at the very bottom of the pile…he was covered up with 2 sticks of folded Juicy Fruit, a wadded up tissue, a sad little matchbook car with no wheels, and a broken Popsicle stick.  Was he hoping for a miracle …like new wheels for the car?  Or was he sharing his Popsicle?  Did he have 2 pieces of gum ’cause he wanted to share?  This boy always had ideas that no one else would ever think of.  So, I asked.  “Son, why have you been taking Jesus with you everyday?”  He looked up and said, “Am I in trouble?”  “No, you haven’t done anything wrong…I just wondered why you take him every day.”  That sweet face looked up at me and said, ”  Mom,  all I’m doing is just babysitting…just babysitting for Mary.”  And, off he ran.

He continued ‘babysitting’ the rest of the season.  And, after Christmas I packed up the set with all the rest of the Christmas decor…and away they all went into the attic.  The next year, I wondered if the baby sitting would pick back up.  But, no, Jesus stayed in his manger this year.  So, I asked the babysitter why he was not taking him for trips this year.  He looked at me like I had suddenly sprouted wings.   The whole episode was gone from his mind.  He just couldn’t imagine that he had ever done such.  But, he did.  And, it’s OK that he doesn’t remember it.  Cause his mama remembers…and holds the memory dear.  Maybe because  I understood just how glad Mary must have been to have a free babysitter…for a whole day…every day….for 3 weeks!  I, sad to say, was never quite that blessed!