Katie rummaged through the storage box, carefully looking through the crumpled packing paper. She still couldn’t find what she was looking for.
She put everything back in the box and went to find Mom.
Katie had looked behind the piano, under the couch, even in Thomas’s crib. It was lost. She had to tell Mom.
“Mommy, the baby Jesus is lost.”
Katie led Mom to the nativity set in the living room. Joseph and Mary and the shepherds were there. The Wise Men–even a camel and a donkey—were there. All of the figures were gathered around the empty manger.
“It looks that way, doesn’t it?” Mom said.
“Yes, I can’t find Him anywhere. I looked and looked.” The nativity would be ruined without the baby Jesus.
Mom went to the bookshelf. “He isn’t lost,” she said as she reached up and took something from the top shelf.
Katie sighed in relief. “There He is!” she said. “I’ll go put Him in the manger.”
She reached for the figurine, but Mom put it back on the shelf. “This year we’re going to put the baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning,” Mom said. “It’s a tradition Dad learned in France.”
“Why? Everyone looks so sad.”
“I don’t know if they’re sad.” Mom said. “To me, it looks more like they’re waiting.”
Katie examined the figures. She could see the empty place in the manger where baby Jesus belonged. Some of the figurines were reaching out to the spot.
“I guess so,” Katie said.
“Remember before Thomas was born how excited you were for him to come?” Mom asked.
Katie smiled at her baby brother, who was playing on a blanket. “Yes, it felt like forever.”
“Did you know that prophets waited for thousands of years for Jesus to come to help us return to live with Heavenly Father?”
Katie remembered seeing a picture in Primary of a prophet writing about the Savior’s birth. “I think so,” she said.
“Prophets like Isaiah thought about and wrote about what the Savior would do when He came,” Mom said. “They spent their whole lives waiting for Him to be born. That’s one of the reasons we set up the nativity like this, to remind us that many people waited a long time for the Savior to come.”
“I would get tired of waiting my whole life,” Katie said, looking at the shepherds who were waiting for Jesus.
“But there’s also another reason we do this,” Mom said.
“Do you remember in family home evening when we talked about the Second Coming?”
Katie thought for a minute. “Isn’t that when Jesus comes again?
“That’s right,” Mom said.
“When will that happen?”
“Well, we don’t know. But we’re waiting for Jesus to come, just like the shepherds in the nativity and just like the ancient prophets. That’s the other reason we’re waiting until Christmas to put the baby Jesus in the nativity—to remind us that we’re waiting for Jesus too.”
“Will He come to a manger again?” Katie asked.
“No, He won’t be a baby again. The next time Jesus comes He’ll be resurrected. But the empty manger in the nativity reminds us that just like you’re waiting for Christmas morning, and just like people waited for Jesus to come to earth, now we’re waiting for Him to come back. We didn’t lose the baby Jesus. This is part of the way our family remembers Him.”
“We just need to wait,” Katie said with a smile.
“That’s right,” Mom said.
“While we’re waiting, can we make some sugar cookies?”
“We declare that He will come again to earth, this time in might, majesty, and glory, to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Standing Together for the Cause of Christ,” Ensign, Aug. 2012, 48; Liahona, Aug. 2012, 28.