An Advent Lesson from Our Grandchildren

My wife, the lovely Robin, and I were excited to introduce our three grandchildren to the new "Little People" nativity set we recently bought, as a fun tool for teaching them the story of Christmas.

The set included adorable figures representing Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, three Magi, a camel, a sheep, a donkey, a cow, and an angel (we had to order a shepherd and extra sheep separately). So we set it up and at the first opportunity, told the story, letting them help us act it out, and then set them loose to play with the set.

Later that evening, after the grandchildren had gone home, we set to the task of putting the house back together, and discovered a nice little Advent message waiting for us.

Sometime during the course of that evening, one or more of the grandkids had added to the set from other figures in the playroom. A horse. A deer, I think. And, most striking of all, a pig. A pig.

Of course, they have no awareness that a pig in the scene would have been anomalous that first Christmas (I'm pretty sure they don't even know what "anomalous" means). But no matter. Neither do they know (yet) that the shepherds themselves would have been a shocking addition to the first "nativity scene," despised as they were in first century Jewish society. But even if they knew, they wouldn't care. And I'm glad. I'm glad my grandchildren found a place for a pig and a horse and a deer among the figures around the manger. It was--and is--a reminder to me that Advent and Christmas--and the Kingdom itself--is more inclusive than we tend to think. Maybe more so than we like to think, or are able to think.

Come, let us adore him.
Let us ALL adore him...Christ, the Lord.

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