My wife Mary and I have several nativity sets that we put on display each Christmas season. And in the month of December 2004 was a Christmas season like most all the others, EXCEPT.. our dog Baylie (Husky Springer Spaniel mix) who was about a year and a half old at the time still liked to chew on things that were not her designated chew toys.
One of those items is my kneaded eraser which I use when I am drawing my cartoons, and it looks like a lump of clay. Well Baylie would sneak it off my desk, and chew it up but never swallow it. Leaving a mangled pile of eraser fragments on the family room floor. I push the crumbs back together, and continue to use it. I know, I know.. Ewwwww!! But she cleans the pencil lead out of it and dog drool seems to be an active agent in making the eraser .. erase. BUT I DIGRESS..
Back to the Larson Nativity sets. One afternoon in December 2014 my wife and I came home to what looked like a Nativity Mob Kill scene. The wooden cart from the stable was in pieces, a shepherd laying face down on the coffee table, and a baby sheep took a fall off the table and onto the living room carpet. I can’t imagine the horror in eyes of the 3 wisemen who traveled so far only to see Baylie walk off with Baby Jesus in the clutches of her jaw.
The question remained why? Maybe Baylie wanted Jesus in her heart, and thought swallowing him would be close to her heart. Stomach? Heart?.. good enough. BUT THEN she maybe did not like the texture of the ceramic Jesus figurine.
OR MAYBE an audible voice from the Heavens yelled “Baylie.. This is my beloved son.. DONT EAT HIM!” Only Baylie and the figurines from the nativity set know for sure.
Good News: Only a short time later the 'baby Jesus hostage crisis was over. The son God in ceramic form was returned to ceramic parents Mary & Joseph who were besides themselves with worry. And good news for Baylie was God did not strike her with lightning which was within his right. But.. just a couple weeks later Baylie was shocked when she chewed the lights on our Christmas tree. Coincidence? I think not.
Moral of the story. If you really love Jesus don’t risk God revoking your ticket to Heaven just because your nativity sets are low enough for Baby Jesus to be mauled by the family dog. AND.. just like Baylie could not get Jesus in her heart by eating a figurine, neither can any of us have Jesus in our hearts just by going to church.
May this Christmas be a peaceful season of adoration and personal faith where Jesus is in our hearts and not just in our nativity sets.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson