Fontanini nativity characters take their places, arranged by wee fingers working quietly, reverently.
I’m by the Christmas tree, untangling lights, but I overhear little-girl whispers.
Lydia situates the angel at the top of the nativity; she scoots the donkey into his pen.
“You can put the baby Jesus in this year, Anna,” big sister whispers to little sister. And Anna rests the two-inch Polymer infant on his bed.
They find the sheep, the goat and a boy carrying water. A shepherd joins the crowd. They back away and call for a Mama Inspection.
I come to see what a 2,000-year-old miracle looks like through the eyes of my children.
Most of the characters are arranged neatly around the outside, looking in on the God-child who drew them here. They keep a safe distance in a semi-circle on the perimeter.
Underneath the roof are mother and father and infant Jesus.
But there was another on the inside. She did not stand on the fringes.
Because this one … she had been placed at Jesus’ side. She stood closer to the Savior than kings who brought gifts, closer than shepherds who sang praises on the hillside. She stood closer even than the angel who hovered overhead. She was as near to the baby as the mother of God.
Standing at the side of Jesus was a figurine, with purple head-covering, named “Lydia.”
My own Lydia, 8, had placed her there. She looked up for my approval. Her eyes met mine and asked the question: Would Mama find the five-inch tall figurine “out of place” here? Could Lydia stand so near to the manger?
“Is it OK, Mommy?” she asked. “I just wanted Lydia to be close to Jesus.”
This season of Advent, as we celebrate the birth of Christ and anticipate His coming again, dare I step into the holy of holies?
Dare I walk past the outer courts where priests sing the Lord’s praises? Dare this wretch pass through the temple courtyard and the altar?
And He answers: Come.
So I press in so close
that my forehead rests
on His back
as my grown-up Savior walks up
that Hill that still runs red
I pull back the torn veil
and fall at His feet
in the holy of holies
I do dare. For He invites me in. And He invites you, too.
“Is it OK, Mommy?” Lydia asked of her placement near the Christ child.
Yes, Lydia, it’s OK — more than OK. I’ll join you there …
Jesus, We follow the star and stumble to the manger. We’re ragged and messy, yet you invite us to step in closer. We bow low at the side of the manger, and wait for you with anticipation. How is it that we can so boldly enter into Your presence, this inner sanctuary behind the veil?
It’s because of You, Jesus — You who went before us.
Draw us closer — close enough to see Your face and hear Your whisper above the noise of the season. Our hearts yearn for more of You.
“Do you want to know Him just for the sake of knowing Him, for the joy of kneeling in His awesome presence? Then you may enter the holy of holies. We can live our lives on the outer perimeters of our salvation, in Christ but not with Christ, or we can accept the challenge to enter and behold his glory.” — Beth Moore, Bible study author
Each Wednesday, I join Ann Voskamp and her community of pilgrims. Together we “Walk With Him.” Today, we explore “Christmas: A Season of Seeking Christ.”
Would you join us there, as we behold His glory together in the holy of holies?