For many years now, I’ve gotten a new nativity–of some sort– at Christmas time. If you’ll recall, last year’s was a rubber ducky set. Ridiculous, but very cute. I couldn’t resist.
This was never meant to be a tradition really, but more an activity to ease the heartache of losing an entire box of nativity sets that I’d collected over the past 30 years. In one of the many moves our family made since becoming single, this most important box, somehow, never made it to us. In it we’d packed six or seven different sets that the kids had grown up with–most importantly, one that I bought while on a trip to Bethlehem back in the 70’s. To say that it broke my heart to lose that box is putting it lightly. However, I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason, and if the reason is that someone, somewhere needed that box full of baby Jesus more than we did–well then, I’m good with it.
This year, my dear daughter April gave me a gift. An incredibly beautiful gift. When she heard that her In-laws were going to the Holy Land, she arranged to have them find a new nativity set– hand chosen for me, in the town of Bethlehem. Oh, my goodness what a perfect job they did.
It is beautiful! The detailed carving work is amazing and each piece has it’s own personality, distinct and lovely.
When I was in Bethlehem a million years ago, I bought the only set I could afford. I loved it for that reason, but the craftsmanship was very low scale. In fact, the running joke was, “Don’t look at the faces too closely or you won’t be able to tell a donkey from a shepherd!” Yeah, it was kinda bad.
But this set…is simply gorgeous!! Joseph’s staff is removable and baby Jesus isn’t carved into the manger. You can actually take him out…which fact we’ve learned over and over as we keep finding him in random places. That Magoo! It’s fun to take each piece and study it for awhile to appreciate it’s individual beauty. Mary is smiling, the wise men are incredibly ornate and the sheep and other animals look…real. It’s breathtaking I tell you.
Such a treasure, such a blessing, such a gift of love this Christmas!
Thank you, my sweet daughter.
Your thoughtfulness has healed my heart.
I love it beyond words. And you too.