Long ago my mother-in-law gave me three figures of the Holy Family which have become my very favorite gift from her – aside from the son she raised who does not complain about having leftovers and has many other wonderful qualities. The little nativity set is not expensive, but it is precious to me because of the fun we have with it every year with our grandchildren.
I don’t know if I made up the game or if I read the idea somewhere, but it has been a tradition at our house for at least fifteen years. A basket of straw sits by the characters, and when the children come to visit, we catch them in an act of kindness and remind them that they can add a piece of straw to Baby Jesus’ manger. For the rest of the day, they do blatantly kind things, and when it’s time for them to go home, Jesus is usually completely covered. They enjoy the little game and don’t seem to mind being coerced into graciousness or this engineering that encourages good behavior. Surely, God intends for us to find joy in treating each other with goodness and thoughtfulness, and I think He might smile on our efforts.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Jesus, the best gift of all. Please help us to be conspicuously kind and glaringly joyful this season as our hearts overflow with gratitude when we consider how very much You love us. Amen.
~ Carol Carter