Last Friday, with no Christmas decorations up, and no inspiration for a Christmas card, I took a break and met with two friends, Virginia and Dianna, at Virginia's quaint old farmhouse. We sat around the kitchen table and did what we have been in the custom of doing for the past few years; reading the Bible together. This time, we were reading in the gospel of Luke. We read aloud in turn, and as we came to the familiar story of God coming to earth in the form of a baby, a thought took hold in my brain. I tried to shake it, but it wouldn't let go. "The barn,” I mused, “the barn!”, I repeated. My friends looked at me like I was on a different page.
Outside the farmhouse where we sat was an ancient barn, built to last, with sturdy timbers, stanchions, and mangers for the cows. Those feeding troughs were just the right size for a newborn baby. I asked Virginia if she had a doll. "I have a life-sized doll that was my mother's," she replied. I told them my idea, and we sprang into action. Virginia's dish towels became the swaddling clothes that Dianna used to wrap the baby, and we trooped outside, over the rain-softened ground, to the barn. As I set up my tripod and camera, my friends arranged the hay and laid the baby doll in the manger.
There have been untold thousands of images of that scene of long ago; why did I need one more? I can only say that this was a way for me to visualize the birth of Jesus and remember what He did when He gave His life for us.
Now there's a wreath on the front door and a small Christmas tree on the dining room table and my favorite creche in the kitchen. The work will get done, but not today. I hope you'll consider this my Christmas greeting, and I especially hope that God's gift, His indescribable gift of Jesus, brings peace to your heart today and in the coming year.