Displaced crèche, deepened hopes

As work began on our much-anticipated sanctuary exterior restoration/repair, I found myself wondering, would all that fencing and scaffolding make Laurel Heights seem less inviting?  Would people be able to find their way into the sanctuary for Lessons and Carols and Christmas Eve?  And would we find a place to assemble our wonderful outdoor crèche?  And then something occurred to me: The season of Advent is by nature a threshold time, a time of way-finding, a season which has some scaffolding of its own, yes?

While the world at large urges us to hurry up, the church spends these four weeks reminding us to slow down, to prepare our hearts, perhaps even to put some “scaffolding” in place that might ready us for the gift of a Savior.

But where to put the crèche? As we walked through and around the campus scouting potential locations, I wondered about the deeper meaning of having to cope with a detour, and needing to find a new place for this special symbol of our Advent/Christmas journey.  It occurred to me that while our crèche has been displaced for this season, we live in a world where thousands of mothers and fathers and children are displaced as well, caught in their own in-between, wondering where and when they will find a home.

We found a home for the crèche this year—a beautiful nook on Rowe Plaza that is accessible to those who pass by daily on their way to and from the church or weekday school.  We have been inconvenienced but, as Paul has said, “in a delightful way.”  I hope we can hold our minor inconvenience this season as a reminder of all those whose lives have been disrupted in much larger ways.  As we adjust our journey to the crèche, we can remember the Holy Family.  Their journey was an arduous one and the destination not as accommodating as Mary and Joseph perhaps had hoped.  And yet, in a city too full of strangers to offer even a room, they found a place to rest and breathe and finally, bring into the world the child who would change everything.

In this Advent season, may we see the scaffolding that is a part of our landscape this year as a signpost turning us toward our displaced crèche.  That crèche can remind us of the original displaced crèche, a place from which emerge both our own deepest hopes, and the hope of all the world for finding our way home with God.

Grace and peace.


Laura Healy, Director of Program Ministries