By Ann Perrott
When my granddaughter, Colby was a toddler, she loved playing with the crèche we have in our home. Whenever she came running into our house during Advent, she would rush over to the crèche and start rearranging the figures. She loved putting the baby Jesus on the roof of the manger. Why she did this is anyone’s guess but I loved watching her position each figure in their rightful place (even on the roof) until the next time she came over.
I am sure that a three year old doesn’t have any idea about what is going on in a nativity scene, or religion in general. As children grow they typically move through several phases. They may begin to have a concept of right and wrong, and could even embrace the religion of their parents and become acolytes/altar boys (which is where Colby is now). Cynicism of religion can crop up in the teen years when all healthy children question facts or truths they’ve been told. Then they develop a personal sense of faith and, ideally they recover the wonderment they had as a small child. Some people go through all of these steps and others stop at some point. I have seen adults who never had any exposure to religion develop a very personal relationship with God. What a feeling of joy and hope when that happens!
Colby is not so enthralled with the manger scene now that she is ten, and so when I took it out this year, I placed the baby Jesus on the roof—just for old time’s sake.