Nativity scenes. Having grown up in the church, I have always been taught that Christmas is first and foremost a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and nativity scenes were always a big part of the imagery and the decor.
One of the things I remember about Millersburg is the huge, heavy nativity display in the town square. The set actually belonged to my church, Trinity UCC, and every year a group of us would carry the pieces down to the square and set it up. One of the most memorable events surrounding this public display occurred the year we got a new pastor. He insisted that the Christ child should not be put into the manger until Christmas Eve. After some discussion, the powers-that-be agreed, and the display was set up, minus Baby Jesus.
Apparently, the word didn’t get round to everyone in town, because about a week later, an angry letter appeared in the local newspaper, chastising whoever had been so sacrilegious and crass as to steal the Baby Jesus. The pastor of our church then had to write a response to that letter, assuring the town that Baby Jesus was safely awaiting Christmas Eve to make his appearance.
I have my own tradition with nativity scenes as well. After my dad died, and my mom was cleaning out the house, I claimed all the nativity scenes she had, and I display them every year. In years past, I had them kind of scattered all over the house, but last year, I decided to put all the smaller ones on one table; I also have a rather large one that I always sat on the mantle. This year, for ease of placement, I decided to set it on top of our console TV instead.
In the picture, the three creches in front are from my mom’s collection. The one on the far left is one I made for her at some point in Sunday school, and I’m sure someone also made the one on the right. I can’t recall where she got the while ceramic one in the middle. The larger one in the back is one my dad bought for me right after Mike and I got married, and the candle holder creche in the back was a gift from my friend Kelli.
I haven’t bought any nativities recently, though. I may have to remedy that.