A place in the Nativity

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Story File


Christmas Spirit

Main Lesson

Each and every one of us is important, and the best way to make others feel that way is through acts of love and kindness.


A Nativity Scene with figurines.


Nativity figurines.

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A place in the Nativity

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Cuento navideño sobre el amor de Dios

Simon was a small plastic figurine who could be placed in any corner whatsoever of the Christmas Nativity scene. He was born in a huge factory in China and wasn’t very well painted, which is why he invariably ended up a long way from the stable, filling just any old space or being nibbled by the children of the house. Nonetheless, he loved the Baby Jesus, who looked and smiled at him every day from his crib. His only dream was that one year they would put him near the crib…

One night before Christmas, Mary gathered everyone together.

“We need your help. A big war is about to begin, and Baby Jesus has had to go away to try and avert it. Somebody has to stand in for him until he returns.”

“I’ll do it”, said a lovely little angel. “I don’t think it will be too hard to play the role of a baby.

That little angel took up its place in the manger and another one had to take its place in the empty spot left. This other angel was replaced by a little shepherd… in short, many of the figurines had to switch places. As a result of the changes, Simon ended up as a shepherd, much closer to the manger than ever before.
Things did not work out. The angel was lovely and did cry like a baby, but it was obvious that it wasn’t Baby Jesus. Joseph had to ask it to leave and they looked for someone else. Once again the figurines switched places and Simon ended up closer still to the manger.

The new baby did not play the role of Baby Jesus properly and neither did the many others who were tried throughout the night. Thanks to all the changes, Simon had been moved very close to the manger.

He was very excited and helped out with everything he could: brushing the animals, cleaning the stable, fetching water, chatting with the elders, singing with the angels… He did such a good job that when they finally found a good replacement, Mary and Joseph let him stay there, close by.

He was the happiest figurine in the whole world, but there was one thing on his mind: when they had chosen the latest replacement, he had been out fetching water and had not seen who it was. Every time he looked, the baby was covered by sheets and, given that nobody seemed to miss the real Baby, Simon secretly hoped it was Jesus who had returned. One day he could wait no longer and, since it was early and everybody was asleep, he took a peek under the sheets…

As he lifted his head out from underneath, a giant tear rolled down his cheek. Maria looked at him affectionately.

“He’s not here…”
“I know”, said Mary.
“There’s no-one here. Jesus’s replacement isn’t here in the manger, Simon. It’s you.”
“But I’m just a badly-made figurine.”
“You’re not that badly made, if you managed to make no one notice that Jesus wasn’t really here. Look, Simon, you have done what Jesus does best: love everyone so much that they feel truly special. Didn’t you feel the same way when he looked at you every day? Now everyone else gets that same feeling thanks to you.”

Simon smiled.

“Jesus has asked me to tell you to keep the secret. He is still out looking for replacements like you in all corners of the world, to make it a better place. Would you still like to be the invisible boy in this Nativity?”

Of course he did! And that is how Simon joined the long list of people who, just as Jesus wished, celebrate Christmas by making their little world that tiny bit better.

Translated by Jessica Wood, Niamh Williams, Daisy Millard and Dominic Bentley, Manchester Metropolitan University

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