By Rev. Donald Neuendorf, Senior Pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church – Ann Arbor

Crèche – /kreSH/ From Old French: manger, crib, ultimately of Germanic origin, kripja, crib. n. a model or tableau of Christ’s nativity, a nursery, a hospital for foundlings.

Do you remember when the nativity appeared in the city square? Do you remember when it would first appear at the shopping mall, or when it was suddenly there at church? Those were certain signs that Christmas was near!

Do you remember when your nativity would appear at home? When the boxes of decorations were brought down from the attic, and the tree had been chosen and cut and erected in the living room. Sometime in the process of putting on the lights and the ornaments a box would be opened with the Nativity Scene, and one by one all of the familiar pieces would be removed from their tissue paper and placed in the stable.

Perhaps for you, with all the excitement of Christmas gifts and activities, the Nativity Scene was just another part of the holiday blur. Or…perhaps when you were small you played with the figures, arranging them, telling the story, imagining what it was like when God’s Son was born.

The Nativity Scene is more than a decoration. It is an object lesson that lives in almost every home–and yet it is an object lesson that often lacks the lesson. We have the object, but we fail to teach the story and its meaning.

This year we will consider together all the pieces of our Nativity Scenes, our Crèche. One by one, just as we took them out of the tissue paper, we will take them up and consider what each piece can teach us about what God was doing in Bethlehem long ago.

Will you join us? We will follow our theme on our Wednesday Advent services and our Sunday mornings. Pastors Don Neuendorf and Aaron Roggow of St. Paul Lutheran Church will be joining with the pastors of St. Luke Lutheran Church: Pastors Justin Rossow, Dan Flynn, and Matthew Hein, to tell the story and to help us tell the story to our children, grandchildren, and friends.