Repost – No One Wants to Eat Baby Jesus!

I’m traveling and so decided to repost this Christmas post that I wrote a year ago. To those of you for whom it is a repeat, thanks for bearing with me. For others who are reading for the first time: what would you do with baby Jesus? “As I think back, there is something funny, poignant, and sacred about this. What do we do when no one wants to eat Baby Jesus? Do we shellac him? Throw him away?”

20121207-121706.jpgWe make sugar cookies every year. It’s a sweet, messy, sticky, yummy tradition. The after effects are sugar highs, gritty floors, and creativity to make your eyes pop. Sugar cookies are our favorite.

One year we decided to make the Nativity Scene. So proud were we as we painstakingly cut out Blessed Mary, Joseph, angels, sheep, camels, a manger, and Baby Jesus. It was amazing. The whole clan, baked with butter, sugar, and flour; frosted with blue and yellow and white and green and any other shade we could create with our liquid food colors that stained the hands and the tongue.

But…it was hard to eat this cast of characters. Oh the camels and sheep were easy. The angels? Well, we had eaten angels before so we gave in and ate those with a hot cup of evening tea. Joseph? While indeed a major and noble character in the scene, it wasn’t that hard to ingest his yellow-brown robe. But Mary? She proved difficult in her bright food-color blue, green sugar bedazzled robe, the yellow halo around her head. Finally, even she was eaten. Delicious.

But no one wanted to eat Baby Jesus!

What were we thinking? Of course no one wants to eat Baby Jesus. It seemed so wrong.

As Christmas passed and the goodies in the house were slowly eaten, we still had one lone sugar cookie in the container. Baby Jesus. What were we to do with Baby Jesus?

As I think back, there is something funny, poignant, and sacred about this. What do we do when no one wants to eat Baby Jesus? Do we shellac him? Throw him away?

But now I think the best choice would have been to eat the cookie – in fact break it in pieces and pass it around, sharing. Use it as a time to talk about how Jesus meets us in the sacred and the mundane, that he draws us into worship through cookies or through the sacrament. In my mind I go back to that time and re-write the story where we sit around the kitchen table and break off pieces of Baby Jesus, sharing the cookie no one wanted to eat. A holy moment in the middle of a simple holiday tradition, a reminder of the Body of Christ broken for us.

We’ve not made the Nativity Scene for a long time – instead it’s the traditional trees and bells, candy canes and stockings. But I’m tempted every year to make that nativity scene again, to decorate Baby Jesus and break him in pieces encouraging all to partake.

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