Where do I fit in the Nativity Scene?
Like most little girls growing up, I spent several Christmas seasons dressed up as an angel or Mary. Those were the two main roles for girls in the church. The wise men, Joseph, shepherds, and animals were usually taken by the boys. My oldest daughter was recently in a Christmas church play as a Wise Person, you know because 2019 is way more progressive than 1989. This play and a recent sermon by my preacher made me think, “Where do I fit in the Nativity Scene?”
By a quick process of elimination, I feel like there are just a few options. I mean, Joseph and Jesus are out of the question. Even though Jaycie was a Wise Person, I definitely don’t think I qualify for that role either. I am a Mom, but realistically I fit the role of Elizabeth in the prelude to the Nativity story as opposed to Mary. (That was definitely solidified by hearing the terms “geriatric pregnancy” and “advanced maternal age” for most of 2018.) I don’t think I’ve hit angel status just yet, so where does that leave me? While sitting in the pew this past Sunday, I came to the realization that I’m most like a shepherd. I mean, the similarities are quite uncanny. As a teacher and mom of three, I’m constantly herding little “sheep” everywhere. Several nights a week, I’m wide awake tending to my flock, or more specifically a teething baby. Finally, my dry-shampooed- ponytail-t-shirt-tennis shoes-and-khakis appearance even makes me look more like a shepherd than anything else.
So now that I know my role, I have some choices. I can whine, complain and be tired when all these little sheep are wearing me out and wondering away. I can carry my staff and wring their necks when they go astray. I can awake up and trudge through another day of the same ole routine of tending to my school and home flocks. Or…. I can choose to be like those shepherds from the Nativity Scene. I can choose Joy. I can lead my three little sheep to see the Savior. I can choose to be amazed by his love for us. I can choose to come back and tell everyone I know about the precious sight I just witnessed. As we watch and wait these last few weeks of the advent season, I will remind myself to choose joy. My sheep and fellow shepherds are depending on it.