Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people … — Luke 2:10
… according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. — Luke 1:55
As children, setting up the Nativity scene was a highlight for my brother, sister and me. We would take turns picking a figurine out of a shoebox and placing it in the stable.
I always favored the shepherd boy — until I dropped it. My mother glued the head back on, but to no avail. She then used a toothpick to keep the head in place. It worked, but the head wobbled. I no longer wanted the shepherd. Neither did my sister. We chose the Wise Men and fought over Mary. My brother, though, stuck with the broken shepherd, embraced and placed him in the seat of honor — next to baby Jesus. In my best bratty sister voice, I snapped that the shepherd didn’t belong there. My brother snapped back, “He does.”
The broken shepherd boy does belong. My brother belongs. I belong. You belong. We all belong, in our own brokenness, close by Jesus’ side. Jesus, who was born to be our friend. Jesus, who will always lift us up.
On this Christmas Day, how close are you standing by the holy babe in the manger?
Incarnate God, thank you for greatest gift of all — your son, Jesus, who reminds us we are all worthy and loved. Amen.