I don’t know what your practice is, but in our family, when we set up our Nativity set, my mom always hid infant Jesus until Christmas morning, when he would be brought out and placed in his crib. (I’ll leave out the part about my three siblings and I fighting over who would get to put Jesus in the crib.)
I still do the same. For two weeks, Baby Jesus has been in a drawer in our family room, and Mary, Joseph and the shepherds and animals have been standing guard over, and gazing at, an empty crib.
Last night we arrived in New York, where we will celebrate Christmas with my family. As soon as I walked into my mother’s apartment and saw her Nativity, I exclaimed, “Drats,” although “drats” was not actually the word I used. “I left Baby Jesus in the drawer. Now he’ll be there until after Christmas.”
Fortunately for us, the Incarnation doesn’t depend on my getting Baby Jesus out into his crib on time. Fortunately for us, God doesn’t require that we get it all perfect to manifest in the world. God takes our best efforts and works with them. Unto us, a child is born – even if he is still lying in my drawer.
On this Christmas Eve morning, I leave you with the words of a 15th Century verse titled In the Silent Night, by an unknown author:
Lo, in the silent night
A child to God is born
And all is brought again
That ere was lost or lorn.
Could but thy soul, O man
Become a silent night!
God would be born in thee
And set all things aright.