Thursday, December 17, 2009

the three-legged, peg-legged sheep

a long time ago i used to sit at my grandparent's house at christmastime, completely entranced by grandma's nativity.  to be honest i think i have always had a love of nativities, relishing in the role of setting up my families and having my own tiny glow-in-the-dark set by my bed year round.  it was like playing with dolls with the added awe of being close to something holy.  through the years i have collected quite a few nativities of my own.  i'm even trying to win a new one from this blog this week.

this beauty in my living room

this one on my tree

this one i found in Myanmar this year

and this one, that was my grandma's too, just not the one from grandma's.

back to grandma's house.  her nativity was old.  and chipped.  and fragile. and she let me play with it whenever i wanted.  i'm sure she accepted the fact that with 17 grandchildren and, at the time, over 30 great-grandchildren (i was the youngest of the grandchildren, but the great-grands were the ones my age) her things were just going to be played with.  oh, i was ever so careful with them, but i was a child, so chips and dings happened.  there was just something so special about her little cardboard stable and holy family.

a few years later, that nativity was given to me.  and i cherish it.

torn stable. only two wisemen and a mismatched set to say the least.  i borrowed the camel and donkey from the brown set from earlier to fill out the stable.  the shepherd, maybe he's another set's joseph, but here he is an unpainted shepherd.  and then little mary & joseph, bowing, in awe of baby Jesus in his cotton lined stall.

and yet my favorite part of this nativity?  the three-legged, peg-legged sheep.  i know there are no stories about him in the Bible.  but he's a very important part of my christmas.  if you look closely you'll see him there at the feet of Jesus.

he would have been thrown out years ago by any sensible person. he's missing one leg.  the other is only a wire. another leg is badly cracked.  he's chipped and he's ugly but he has become more dear to me in every passing year.

it dawned on me a few years back.  i am the three-legged, peg-legged sheep!  broken, cracked and ugly i dare throw myself at the feet of Jesus.  and i welcomed in to worship.  if you notice the other two sheep, they are proud looking, heads up or turned away.  but this sheep's head is bowed.  i'm sure the original maker intended this sheep to be eating grass and that's why his head is low.  but i see a broken, hurting sheep bowed before a Savior.  One who will bring him ultimate healing.

so every christmas i'm reminded by the three-legged, peg-legged sheep how deeply loved i am by God that He would send His Son to the world, to help broken, awkward and ugly sheep like myself.  and how welcome i always am at His feet.

Merry Christmas Friends


EmileeHope said...

Awe, what a sad looking little lamb, but I love your story...great memories and a great comparison. Love ya Abby, hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!

Craig said...

Nice story Abby. I remember that lamb well.

Rachel said...

What a beautiful story Abigail! We are all like that little sheep. I'm so glad you didn't throw him out and Jesus doesn't throw us out. :) Praise Him for grace!

Hope you're feeling better. You've been in my thoughts and prayers.

Andy's Bethy said...

That is simply beautiful Abby. Wow.
What is it about the memories from childhood that hold so much power?
Love you!

Dan & Mary said...

i've always loved that nativity. and i love you. i am missing my nativity this year- harder to find in zim than i imagined.

Anonymous said...

now that I know you like Nativity sets I will be on the lookout for them for you.. I have gotten several great ones for Bethany on our travels... I love you... Love your story... you are precious to Him and to all the Binkleys!!!nina

Anonymous said...

What beautiful memories that I share too--it was the only nativity I remember too! The sheep "problem" I had forgotten-thanks for the beautiful analogy. Might you think of reading this at Christmas eve service? MOM

Megan said...

you may be a three legged, peg legged sheep, but i love ewe. tee heee