My sister and I grew up in beautiful Painesville, Ohio, sharing a bedroom that had two twin beds and a nightstand in between. The nightstand was no ordinary nightstand, though. It was a sacred space between us that connected us both to each other as well as to the deepest mystery and miracle of the world.
On this ordinary little teak wood table that both separated and connected our beds stood a nativity scene. This particular nativity was the one from Luke’s gospel that recounts the events of Mary and Joseph who lay their newborn baby and savior of the world, wrapped in cloth, in a manger as there is no more room at the inn. The story is replete with shepherds, angels, prophecies, and psalms of the glory of God.
My little sister would ask me to tell her this story of Jesus’ birth at bedtime when the world was dark and quiet, and when secrets not just about ourselves but the world around us yearn to be revealed. As I narrated, she would lay there on her bed perfectly still, mesmerized.
Our nightstand nativity was about how the greatest of all miracles could happen in the humblest of all places. Humble places like that Bethlehem barn. Humble places like that little teak table. Our nightstand nativity marked the miracle and the sacred space of our connection.