In an effort to reinforce the true meaning of Christmas, my
mother purchased a Playmobil nativity set for my children. It’s really cute
and, in the grand tradition of Playmobil, has about 10,000 teeny tiny parts. My
son has a grand imagination and can play with Playmobil sets for hours at a
time. He makes lots of loud crashing noises and explosion sounds and small plastic
men are often seen flying through the air in my living room. Unfortunately, the
nativity is no exception.
My son has a tendency to keep toys made by the same toy
manufacturer together so he automatically paired the nativity up with the
Playmobil pirate ship and castle. The Baby Jesus has been on a wild ride in
recent days. He’s been attacked by rabid sheep, smuggled aboard a pirate ship
and forced to defend himself with against an angry Angel with a knight’s sword.
Mary and Joseph, tired from their trek to Bethlehem, are weary time travelers
in the Hale house, going from the stable to the middle-ages at warp speed. They’ve
been kidnapped by pirates, lost at sea on a life raft and ridden on camels over
a castle’s drawbridge. I’ll spare you
the plight of the poor shepherds and wise men. Suffice it to say, they never
saw my son and his arsenal of weaponry coming.
I’ve read the Christmas story to my kids a couple of times
this year and have done my best to explain to my son that the story of the
Nativity is to be treated with a certain amount of reverence. I piece the scene
back together each night, moving the Baby Jesus from the basket on the upper
part of the pirate ship mast to his rightful place atop the pile of hay in the
manger. I put Mary and Joseph back by Jesus’s side and strategically place all
of the other major players in the Christmas story in and around the cardboard
Playmobil backdrop. It’s a tedious task but I do it, day after day, because I
feel like I should. I have always taken a great deal of pride and pleasure in
my son’s vivid imagination and I can’t help but chuckle when I watch him create
scenarios for the folks in Bethlehem, “But the Baby Jesus likes it Mommy.” Who
could argue with that?