Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I love the Christmas story that tells of the mortal birth of the Son of God. The Christmas season reminds us that Heavenly Father loved all of His children so much that He sent a Baby - His Only Begotten Son - to earth on a mission to save all of us. I love the description of Mary who is always depicted as young and virtuous, fair and beautiful. I honor Joseph who showed great love, courage and strength in his marriage to Mary. I am awed by the idea of a God being born in a stable. I feel the excitement of the shepherds as the angel announced the birth of Christ and understand the haste with which they traveled to the stable. I seek to find the Lord just as the wise men did when they followed the star. I love this story so much that I choose to decorate my home with scenes of the Nativity. At my latest count, I have twenty-nine Nativity sets of different sizes made of various materials. I have sets with multiple pieces as well as ones with all the figures in one piece. I have music boxes and snow globes as well as a quilt, pillow covers, a lamp, a cookie jar, a stamp for making cards, pictures of various types and sizes, books, and many ornaments. I have both very inexpensive sets as well as some very nice ones. Most of my sets cost less than $30, and none of them cost over $50. I should say that I have never paid more than $50 because I shop around and find some good Christmas sales as well as off-season sales. My newest Nativity set is one that I made this year from pre-printed fabric. The figures are cut out, sewed together and filled with batting. I like this set because it is my first one that I feel comfortable about putting under the Christmas tree. I have slowed a little in my collection of Nativity sets. Now I purchase only those which are extra special or fill a certain place. I also satisfy part of my need to collect by giving Nativity scenes as gifts to my children. I am always pleased to receive Nativity sets as gifts, especially those made in other countries. I have a desire for a particular Nativity scene. I want one of those large, outdoor Nativity sets with lights. I haven't seen any of them in the stores, but I haven't actually gone looking for them either. I am hesitating about this set because I don't know where I would store it. If I could solve the storage problem, I would immediately start shopping for one! My favorite Nativity scene is the one enacted by my family each Christmas Eve. My husband and I started this tradition more than thirty years ago when our oldest daughters were just tiny tots, maybe the year our oldest son could play Baby Jesus. I am pleased that our children are continuing this tradition in their own homes. Some of our family Nativity plays have been elaborate like the one where a roving reporter interviewed the various participants in the Christmas story. Some of them are very simple with just reading the story in Luke and Matthew as it is acted out. For many years, our costumes consisted of bathrobes, towels, etc. even though I wanted real costumes. After most of my children were adults, I started making costumes, usually adding just a couple or three every year. Last year I made six new costumes because I needed one for each grandchild. I have also found that graduation gowns serve very well as costumes. Everyone in the house participates in our Nativity play in some way, whether it is someone there for the evening or someone just stopping by for a few minutes. In fact, we have sometimes had friends stop by just to take part in our Nativity play! The saddest play we did was done with just four or five people using the figures from a small Nativity set to act out the parts - but the good years make up for the poor ones. I remember our Nativity from last year with fondness as we had nine grandchildren as well as five children and spouses taking part in our Nativity. There were two brand new babies to play the part of Jesus. Thank goodness that they never cried at the same time because we would pass the crying baby to his mama and put the non-crying child in the manger. We had three little two-year old girls playing the part of the wise men, riding on the back of the camel (our oldest son who also played the part of Mary's donkey). The wise men were all crying by the time they reached King Herod. Our oldest daughter always plays the role of King Herod because she is so realistic in the role, but she was not at all realistic last year as she took pity on the crying wise men. Our older grandchildren - all under the age of nine - played the parts of Mary, Joseph, the angel, and a shepherd. Adults filled helping roles - such as the fourth wise man that helped the little ones, the adults who accompanied the angel or served as shepherds as well as the inn keeper with his wife. Others took pictures and read the story from the scriptures. Most of my children and all of my grandchildren are spending Christmas with their other families this year so I have invited some neighbors and friends to join my husband and myself, along with our oldest daughter and husband, for the evening. I found a family with enough children to help with the Nativity as well as some other adults. It should be a pleasant evening - but nothing like it would be if all of our children and grandchildren could be with us!