One of Mary Ellen Porter’s favorite nativity sets is made from a coconut shell and reminds her of happy times in Hawaii with family members.
Mary Ellen writes: “The first time I went to Hawaii was Christmas of 1966. I was with my parents and my younger brother. None of us had ever experienced a Christmas like that! No snow, perfectly balmy weather, blue skies. Christmas trees in the mall of Norfolk Island pines with spaces between the branches big enough to hold ornaments of gigantic size and Santa arriving in an outrigger canoe. Coming in from Chicago, compliments of my Dad working for United Air Lines, we felt that we were in Paradise.
The next time was sometime in the mid-1990s with Len, and then another time with him at Thanksgiving in 1999. It was during that trip to Maui when we purchased this nativity set. Len and I always made a point to worship in a local church while on vacations (something that was also done with my family when we vacationed.) There were no Presbyterian churches on the island of Maui, but attending the Catholic church was fine with us. Dad was Catholic, so it was always familiar, and we knew that he and my Presbyterian Mom had worshiped there on their Maui sojourns. After the Thanksgiving service, we went to their gift shop (a concept I still have trouble wrapping my head around) and found this sweet little set. I love to look at it because it brings back many wonderful memories.
The palm tree frequently topples over, and one of the little figures needs regluing, but it always helps me remember that all of God’s children from around the world are worshiping the Baby Jesus in their own ways.”
Scripture: Luke 2:21-24
Thought for the Day: In your travels have you worshipped in churches other than Presbyterian in which you have felt comfortable? Were there any surprises like a gift shop in the building or a special service the day you visited?
Prayer: Lord of our worship and Lord of our lives, we thank You for our home churches and for feeling at home where other Christians gather for worship. We thank You that we can learn from other congregations and gain ideas as to how we may better minister to the needs of Your people. Help us to make others feel welcome when they visit us. Amen.