I love the heartwarming stories in my Country magazine but one from this latest issue just hit me so profoundly that I had to share. It’s from Marilyn Houghton Kayton and is entitled “Do You See What I See?”
One holiday season in the 1970’s, my husband, Chuck, handled all the outside decorations and I took care of all of the interior decorations. In addition, I had to bake the cutout cookies, make chocolate truffles, shampoo the carpeting, address holiday cards, organize church activities, wrap presents, polish the silver, plan an open house, shop for the turkey, write a story for the Christmas Eve service…the list went on. On top of that, I was fighting a scratchy throat and a dull headache.
I finished dusting, vacuuming, and decorating the living room. It looked splendid with a tree full of ornaments in designer colors, vanilla-scented candles, and our Italian Nativity scene on the coffee table, accented with pine boughs and a small china dish containing frankincense. I was proud of the authentic touch.
“Well,” I said as I stood back to view the room, “at least one room is ready for company.”
I ran into the kitchen to check the oven for burning cookies, then I addressed a few cards and ran to hand Chuck the outdoor lights. As I passed the living room, I noticed that the three wise men and camels were now on the piano and that the tiny manger was empty.
“Girls, get in here immediately!” Nina and Nancy came running.
“Who has been messing with my Nativity scene?” I asked. “I don’t think you girls have any idea how hard I work to make a nice house for you. When I decorate, I expect things to stay in place. Who moved the three wise men?”
Nina, age 7, replied, “Mother, you don’t understand. The wise men haven’t arrived yet. They shouldn’t be in the stable so we put them on the piano with the camels. And Baby Jesus hasn’t been born, so we put him in the desk drawer.”
“We’ll put him out on Christmas Eve,” said Nancy, hands on her hips. I was stunned. They had been listening to the story and showed a real feeling for the details. The wise men shouldn’t be at the stable yet, and the Baby Jesus wouldn’t be born until Christmas Eve.
I gave the girls a big hug and said, “You really did hear the story. We’ll put Baby Jesus in the manger after we get home from Christmas Eve service. When should we move the wise men and camels over to the coffee table?”
I was decorating a living room; they were living the story.