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Mouse in the manger?

December 7th, 2003 · No Comments

Tonight, while unpacking our nativity from a big cardboard box stored in the garage, I discovered a few traces of our mouse friend visitor from earlier this fall. Yes, I found a few pellets on the living room carpet – eek! Although the box contained a lot of nice newsprint packing paper, wrapped around the figurines – paper a mouse would want for a nest -, I am fairly certain that the droppings had fallen off the outside, where they had gotten attached to the cardboard exterior along with dust and cobweb. The box had been on the garage floor in an area where I had noticed some other signs of murine activity. I alerted the family, got out the vacuum cleaner and changed everyone’s socks. I hope that is the last reminder of Mouse that we find.

But then again, perhaps it was appropriate to find remnants of mouse poop while unpacking the nativity. I don’t mean to be blasphemous here. But it’s not as if Jesus was born into a pristine birthing suite in a sparkling clean hospital. He had a manger for a bed. Mary got to labor in a stable. I’ve never seen a Bethlehem stable from 0 A.D. but I have been inside a modern day barn – and it smelled! Jesus was born there, among all the animals, the straw and hay. Certainly there may have been a mouse or two there as well, along with the cows, donkeys and doves that appear in many Christmas carols and cards. A mouse and mouse poop too. The place probably reeked. How often did a stable get scrubbed?! It was raw and real life. It was poverty and rejection: Joseph and pregnant Mary found “no room” in the inn, sent to sleep in such a temporary shelter, animals all around them. Straw and stink. Snorting and stomping. Eating and pooping. No Lysoled white-walled chamber with everything sterile and neat. And nothing like those posed figurines, painted and pristine, shiny and pretty. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing to think about it. This is how the Son of God was born: a baby wrapped in rags lying in a feeding trough, born in the midst of messy life. The Savior born in squalor. Amazing grace indeed.

Tags: christmas