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Power Manger

Did her grandsons really understand the meaning of the Nativity?

Super hero figurines bow before the Christ child.

My Nativity set is the first Christmas decoration I unpack and the last I put away. It’s been a cherished part of the holiday since I was a little girl.

My father would read from Matthew and I would reenact the night Jesus was born, walking each figure into the stable until they were all gathered around the baby in the manger. That’s how the Christmas story came alive for me.

I carried on this tradition with my children, and now that I’m a grandmother, it’s my grandchildren’s turn. Two years ago, I gave my grandsons—ages four and six—their own Nativity set. 

I read them the Christmas story from the Bible and let the boys play out each scene with the figures from the set just as I had as a child—the angel appearing to Mary, the wise men following the star, everyone coming to see the Christ child.

My grandsons seemed to get into it. They solemnly marched the wise men close to the manger. They even made sounds of amazement they thought the sheep and cows would make when they saw the baby.

You know how it is, though. You try your best to pass your faith on to your grandchildren, but when they’re that young, it’s hard to know if anything’s really sinking in.

One Sunday last December, my husband and I stopped after church to see the boys. “Grandma, look at the ’tivity!” the younger one said, tugging me by the hand while the older one ran ahead into the living room. I smiled. Maybe they remember the story I taught them!

There was the Nativity set on the coffee table, front and center. I was about to congratulate myself when I saw that all the figures were tipped over. I guess they didn’t understand, I thought, trying not to let my disappointment show.

I stepped closer. That’s when I noticed that the figures were not lying carelessly, but arranged neatly in a circle around the baby in the manger, all facedown. The wise men, the shepherds, the angel, Joseph, Mary, the animals and…a Power Ranger, a Star Wars figure and Spider-Man. What was going on here?

My grandsons looked up at me, their expressions expectant, as if asking, Don’t you see, Grandma?

Then I did. Everyone was bowing down and worshipping Jesus, just as the wise men do in Matthew 2:11. Even those with superpowers recognized and honored the greatest power of all.

I pulled my grandsons close and kissed the tops of their heads. I didn’t have to worry. They understood the meaning of Christmas, maybe better than I did.

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