A Nativity without Joseph and Mary | No. 1

“Where are Joseph and Mary?” I said to the young shopkeeper in the Ecuadorian Artisan’s Market. The shop was full of wood carvings, ceramics, and handmade jewelry and nativities. I was buying nativity sets in Ecuador to take home to fundraise for the orphanages in Ecuador. The Baby Jesus I was looking at was beautifully made, but He was alone.

“Do you have the matching Joseph and Mary?”

The young shopkeeper, with a baby on her hip, hurriedly found a Joseph and Mary that matched the Baby perfectly. Though I meant it as a jest, as soon as I said it, a conversation from earlier that day came to mind.

Baby Jesus alone

I had been talking with Nancy Calle, an elderly woman I have known for years. When Nancy “retired” she opened her home to abandoned children. She told me she felt she had room for six to seven children, but she named her home Hogar Para Todos, “Home for All.”

She takes the name seriously, and like the innkeeper in the nativity story, even if she really has no room, she finds room someplace in her heart and home for a child who has nowhere else to go. She often has more than 30 children living with her in her home.

On this day, she told me of the newest addition: a tiny, perfect, little baby who had been found alone, not in a stable, but in the trash on the side of the street with the baby’s umbilical cord still attached. The police brought the baby to Nancy because no one else had room for her.

I think we will start a new tradition in our home this year. A nativity without Joseph and Mary, just Jesus in a manger. Under the manger we will put a little card that says,

“If Baby Jesus were alone in the stable, what would you do to care for him?”

Afterall, Jesus said,

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
— Matt 25:40


Is there room in your inn?

This blog post is first out of a series of 12 Christmas stories by founder Rex Head. Read the other stories below.