Fender Bender in Bethlehem

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“Look! It’s a fender bender in Bethlehem! You see, everyone is so excited to see baby Jesus, so of course there are lots of cars,” Elliott said, as he proudly showed me his arrangement of our Nativity scene.

It never occurred to this innocent seven-year-old that there weren’t cars in Bethlehem. In Elliott’s universe, the whole world loves baby Jesus, so of course, we would travel, and sit in traffic, just to drive by the manger. It made perfect sense.

I thought a lot about my grandson Elliott’s design change as we drove from store to store buying Christmas gifts. Would I have done whatever it took to get to the stable? Would I have sat for hours in traffic just to get a glimpse of baby Jesus?

Our own little church spent time assembling Nativity scenes and creating a gathering for our members, and the community. I was somewhere in Walmart when I realized I was twenty minutes late. Knowing this was my last full shopping day, I felt a little frustration and asked Elliott, “Do you want to go to the Church party and see the Nativity scenes?” He answered with a resounding yes and raced, didn’t walk, raced for the door.

When Elliott and I entered Church, we heard his father, Russell, and the Seaside Ward Choir singing. The Chapel was opened to the gym, which was filled with Nativity scenes, including ours.

Standing in a room filled with Nativity scenes, I was reminded of one of my favorite scriptures.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27

There was a special feeling of peace in the room. I had stepped out of the world, for just a moment, and into our little church, a place where hundreds of people have come together for years to study and learn about the Savior.

Elliott lapped the room over and over, while I looked at a room full of Nativity scenes and tradition. I found my favorite on a roundtable. It was made of plastic and child-friendly pieces. It covered the whole table. It was the kind of Nativity a child could arrange and rearranged as he spent time learning the story of the Savior’s birth.

Elliott’s enthusiastic love of the Savior, Christmas, and the Nativity reminded me of the true reason for celebrating. He wasn’t worried about shopping. He had his priorities in order. He joyfully ran to the Chapel to hear his father sing. He knew what was important. I left the church having been taught a lesson by a seven-year-old boy.

May the world slow down for you this Christmas season. May you find time to play with a Nativity scene and read the greatest story ever told. May you feel the peace He brings.

St Luke


1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.


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