It was Christmas, and I wanted to be sure that our three-year-year old daughter understood what it was all about, so I bought an inexpensive crèche scene with little plastic figures that couldn't be broken if she wanted to handle them.
I warned her firmly that these were special figures, however, not toys to ride around in plastic cars or swing in the miniature Fisher-Price playground.
The Baby Jesus could be snapped out of the manger like a pop-it bead, but, while she was allowed to touch Him, He should always remain in the little stable house. She seemed to understand.
One day while Laurie was napping, I glanced at the crèche and noticed that Baby Jesus was missing from the manger.
Oh, no, I thought, He's probably tangled in the bottom of one of her plastic toy tubs, or encased in Play-doh, a fate shared by other tiny dolls. My effort to teach Laurie some reverence had been a failure.
When she approached the crèche later that day, I said, a little sternly, "I'm going to have to put it away. The Baby Jesus is lost."
"No He's not, Mommy," my little girl said. She pointed a tiny finger to the Mary figure, who stood with her arms adoringly outstretched. There, somewhat precariously balanced in His mother's arms, was Baby Jesus.
My daughter had understood where a baby belonged, even a baby who was God. Jesus was a person, who felt pain, need, hunger, and longed for loving arms, like every other human child. That’s how He understands what we go through in life, because He has been there, too.
Galatians 4:4 "But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law."