Baby Jesus and the Six Cats of Christmas

by Dec 16, 2021A Traditional Christmas, Christmas 2021, Devotional

Baby Jesus and the Six Cats of Christmas

Iam not a big decorator, and I have not purposefully established a Christmas tradition. I do, however, set out two decorations each December: a nativity set with small figurines, and the book The Twelve Cats of Christmas. That is probably why our unintentional tradition involves a nativity and a half dozen cats.

The first year that the nativity set was arranged on an end table, it didn’t take long for Mordecai the cat to bring it to life. He didn’t paw at Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, or kings. He focused on the baby Jesus, batting him to the floor again and again. Even when the nativity was moved elsewhere, Mordecai always found the baby Jesus. It got so that each year my family’s questions were 1) is the nativity out yet and 2) has Mordecai toyed with the baby Jesus.

After Mordecai passed away, the two kitties who had watched his interaction with baby Jesus took over the nativity tradition. Esther and Vashti started out playing with Jesus, but soon Vashti claimed Jesus as her own. She held him close, hissing and growling if Esther or any other cat or person tried to take him from her.

After Esther passed away and Vashti aged and mellowed, Sutcha reverted to the tradition of toying with the baby Jesus. But Israel and Abihail wanted more. At various times, one or the other of those kittens picked up Jesus and carried him away in her mouth. Now, between the two of them, we need to look before we sit, shake the slippers before inserting a foot, and check pillows before resting our heads. They steal away with Jesus, not just for themselves like Vashti, but to pass Him on to us.

Our six cats of Christmas have given us the tradition of watching what they will do with our nativity’s baby Jesus: play, claim, or share. And this challenges us to consider how we will interact with the nativity’s baby, the now risen Jesus, the hope of the world. Matthew 27:22 asks “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ?…” Will we be entertained by casually knowing Him? Will we commit to a personal relationship with Him? Will we keep Him to ourselves or actively share Him with others?


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