Into the Holy of Holies

December 2, 2009 | 21 comments

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

holy experience

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?

by | December 2, 2009 | 21 comments


  1. patty

    🙂 praying your blessed today as you bless so many others…

  2. Kelly Langner Sauer

    I don't really have time to comment; I have to rush into the shower before an appt. I just wanted to thank you for sharing of Him, of His desire for our broken at His side, of His grace for that. I so appreciate the affirmation today.

  3. Jackie

    Your post touched my heart deeply…….Oh, that we would always long to step from the fringes and into His most precious Presence behind the veil.

    Merry Christmas and Sweet Blessings!

  4. jasonS

    This is so wonderful. Thanks for sharing it…

  5. Rosario

    Thanks for encouraging us to get closer to Jesus, to dare to enter the into his holy presence.

  6. Lisa notes...

    That is so beautifully written and well thought-out. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Karen

    This was so very sweet…

  8. Runner Mom

    This was beautiful! A powerful message that we all need to hear. Thank you my friend!!

  9. Doug Spurling

    "I come to see what a 2,000-year-old miracle looks like through the eyes of my children…And He answers: Come."

    Simply beautiful. Thank you.

  10. Lyla Lindquist

    Caught this during a break in class this morning and have been all day trying to figure out how to spell the sound that escaped my lips when I did.

    Sometimes…sometimes…coming here is just a little more than I can handle. Today was one of those days.

    Thank you.

  11. Jennifer

    How precious! We have a Fontanini collection and LOVE setting it up and thinking about the lives of each of those special people that were part of such an amazing event! I love how you put it, "seeing a 2000 year old miracle through the eyes of your children".

  12. Candace Jean July 16

    Wow. Just wow. I'm going off to bed feeling so blessed by your writing.

  13. mom2six

    Stepping through that veil, falling at His feet, all because He invites – Come. My heart sings, "O come let us adore him". Your post has stirred this soul. Thank you.

  14. A Simple Country Girl

    God speaks so strongly through his littlest children… When we take the time to really listen, they teach. Simple. And the Truth.


  15. Anne Lang Bundy

    I once heard a sermon about the difference between entering the outer court, entering the Holy Place, and entering the Holy of Holies.

    It much later occurred to me that there is a place even more sacred than the Holy of Holies, into which men were not permitted to look: The Ark of the Covenant.

    Ever since then, I've meditated on what it is to peek inside the Ark, spiritually.

  16. ~*Michelle*~


    I want….I need to be in His Presence.

  17. Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife

    My mom has a huge Fontanini set. It is such a joy to see it when we visit. I love to watch it grow! Beautiful words and a wonderful post!

  18. aubrey

    You have done it again Jenn, I so look forward to your postings! You touch me every time, Thank you!

  19. cindyhan111

    This is one of the best 'Holy of Holies' pieces I've ever experienced. I read a lot, and meditate there constantly.

    Very well done.

  20. Joye @ The Joyeful Journey

    This post, these words…so beautiful. I'm pressing in close to my Holy of Holies.

  21. sharilyn

    as i read of dear lydia placed beside the manger…to be close to Jesus…by your own Lydia, tears sprang to my eyes! what a beautiful picture… i am undone.

    thank you for sharing, jennifer…

    ps. my wv was rather appropriate: "kinge" (with an "e" to be fancy!) 🙂


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