The other nativity scene we have at home is another colourful set of characters that take us through Advent. We are supposed to add one each day, completing the scene on Christmas Day. However, this year we just put the whole thing up, except there were three missing. We could not find one of the wise men (that is, if we assume the traditional three), nor Mary, nor Joseph - until, happily, I found them in a box a few days ago, when I was looking for something else. So we were able to complete the scene before Christmas Day.
But that got me thinking about those times when things go wrong, or there is a bit missing and so, though they are not Christmas stories, reflecting on those three 'losts' that get mentioned in Luke 15, the sheep, the coin and the son. It is all a reminder that Christmas is essentially about the fact that God comes looking for those who are lost.
It also got me wondering what difference it would make if one of the characters got 'dropped' from the nativity story. Who would you leave out, and what difference would it make? God helps us deal with the missing 'bits'. That's what we mean when we sing 'Love came down at Christmas'.