Scarvey column: Thoughts on finding Jesus this Christmas

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2008

My memory is probably nostalgically inaccurate, but I think I used to do pretty well getting ready for Christmas. I recall lazy afternoons spent curled up on the couch with Christmas cards, writing a personal note for each far-flung friend. I remember making cinnamon ornaments with my kids and baking dozens of cookies with them. When my daughter needed a Mary outfit for a Christmas pageant, I was on it. Once I even managed to saw down our Christmas tree after finding the perfect cedar ó if there is such a thing ó on my dad’s rural Virginia acreage.
Christmas for me has always been a wonderful journey, not a daunting goal.
Perhaps it’s because I have a more demanding job these days, or maybe I’m just getting old, but lately, I seem to be floundering when it comes to Christmas preparations. I have written nary a card. I have no recent family picture to include in any card I actually do get around to writing. I don’t yet have a tree, cedar or otherwise. The only thing resembling cookies in my house are graham crackers from Aldi. My attempt at baking cookies three days ago ended up with four nice firefighters in my kitchen. (I am not making this up.) I have no clue what my children even want this year.
And now, to make matters worse, I can’t find Jesus.
Seriously, he’s missing.
We have a beautiful carved nativity scene that my parents gave us. I love setting it up every year, using my farmgirl upbringing to figure out realistic configurations of sheep and cattle.
Last year, while I was setting it all out, I was upset to realize that baby Jesus had gone AWOL.
A nativity scene sort of loses its raison d’etre when the holy infant is missing.
So I found a substitute ó I think it’s the Joseph figure from a much smaller Peruvian creche. I hoped people wouldn’t look too closely. “Ignore the mustache on the baby Jesus,” I told the kids.
The thing that makes me worry about my sanity ó or maybe just my memory ó is that I’ve happened upon the missing baby Jesus at several points this year.
I was probably in the middle of looking for something else, and no doubt thought to myself, “Oh, there’s Jesus. I’ll put him back when I’m finished with what I’m doing.”
But apparently, I forgot.
It may sound ridiculous to those with functioning memories, but for the life of me I can’t remember where I saw him. Was it in a drawer of the bureau? On a bookcase shelf?
Why, oh why, didn’t I rescue him immediately and reunite him with his young parents? They’ve got to be worried sick by now. You know how young parents are with first babies. They tend to fret when one goes missing for months at a time.
This year, I’m not worrying about cookies or cinnamon ornaments or Christmas card photos.
This year, I’m getting back to basics.
I’m going to find Jesus. nnn
Contact Katie Scarvey at kscarvey@salisburypost.com.

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