Friday, December 15, 2006

Matthew and the Nativity

We invited the Casslers to come to the nativity our stake puts together each December. Unfortunately the night they could come was also the night Jonathan voluteered to help with parking, so he didn't come with us. Matthew was SO excited when he heard the Casslers were coming. They have four boys and baby Eve. I think Matthew is a little covetous of so many brothers, because he informed me that he wanted four brothers and some more sisters too... As soon as he saw their van, he ran out of the house waving his arms wildly and yelling. It was pretty bitter so we all bundled up and walked to the church. Little Eve looked so snug in her bunting and carried in her sling. She is such a peaceful, happy baby.

The nativity our stake puts each year has sheep, goats, a goose, a donkey, a camel, and a lama (for good measure I guess- our neighbor owns the lama). Many people come, so there's a long line to get to the stable. While waiting in the line you see Isaiah writing prophecies, people strolling along dressed in Bethlahem garb, shepards, animals, the three wise men, ect. Thankfully, there are barrels of burning logs along way, because it was COLD. Matthew was okay with the scenery for about 20 minutes and then started to get restless.

"Mom I ready to go home now."

I told him that we still needed to see the camel and also baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. After that we would go home and drink hot chocolate. He accepted that (it is nice to be able to reason with him some of the time). However, Jimmy Cassler was not so easily pacified. He got upset about the wait. Matthew saw this and tried to comfort him.

He patted him on the back and said, "It okay, we see baby Jesus, then go home, drink hot chocolate and eat cookies!" "It's okay, Jimmy." Matthew's comfort measures, though well intended, were not effective. Only being held by his Daddy would do.

While waiting Matthew also made a friend. She looked about his age, so he went up to her and said, "My name Matthew Browning Ellis. What your name?" She told him and they struck up a friendship. They held hands and looked at a busy goat. He came up to me, "Look Mama, my new friend!" Pretty cute.

So, we finally get into the stable which is heated. This was good because Melissa was getting pretty restless herself. A publican counted taxes, a carpenter carved, a potter molded clay, and a leper rang a bell inside the stable. Matthew asked countless questions about everything. Then we got to the manger scene and he got silent. He went down on his knees and just watched the baby held by Mary. After a few minutes I tapped him on the shoulder to go, he stood up and then went back down. It was a powerful moment. The Spirit touched his heart and he didn't want to leave. Our friends had left a while ago, and we really needed to leave, so I gently extracted him, though I hated to leave too.

As we left, he told me, "Mom! That was great!"

This from the little boy who couldn't wait to be done so he could have hot chocolate. We raced home to keep warm and enjoyed steaming mugs of hot chocolate and cookies. Despite the cold, a good evening.


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