Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Inspired by a fellow blogger, Cindy, I am excited to share with you one of my most favorite things about Christmas. My small obsession probably started when I was a young girl. We had a small ceramic nativity set that my family would put out every Christmas. As time went on it eventually became my responsibility to make sure the nativity was set up and displayed properly. Every year I was challenged to come up with something new and different as this quite small nativity always seemed to take a backseat to the majestic Christmas tree. Don't get me wrong I love Christmas trees, but behind all the lights, ornaments, tinsel and strung popcorn what have you got? A tree. Just a tree. The nativity set however, was special, this is Jesus' birth for crying out loud. If you don't have Jesus, you don't have Christmas. Since I never could reach the top of the tree to put up the star, this was my one shining (pardon the pun) moment. So to my small child brain, I had to make it special. Of course the proper display, meant I had to find just the right spot. I'm not sure the nativity was ever displayed in the same place two years in a row. One year it went under the tree... that idea was scrapped as colorful presents quickly stole Jesus' glory. In the book case next to the record player... yes, record player. That was a great spot! What better time to reflect on Jesus when you're putting the needle down on your John Denver and the Muppets Christmas Together record. The fireplace mantle, on top of the piano, the coffee table... I'm pretty sure I tried to figure out how to hang it from the ceiling at one point.

Well now I'm all grown up - sort of - and I've got my own nativity set. In fact, I've got a few just so I don't have to worry about finding that one perfect spot anymore. I'm hoping that eventually I'll have enough to fill every bare spot in my home. I'm just kidding... sort of.

Please come along with me on the Happy Chaps nativity tour:

This is the latest addition to my meager collection. This one I inherited from my mother-in-law. I love it.

These next four are currently in the secretary in the living room behind glass. Until my three year old boy can be trusted with fragile items sitting about (which will probably be never) that is where they will stay.

This one probably doesn't count as a nativity per se, but I liked the youthful look of Joseph and Mary.

This next one looks just like the one we had when I was a child. Only we had a few more pieces, and I think Mary's outer wrap was purple. Never ask a ten year old girl to repaint your nativity set.

My sister (I hope) has the set my parent's had. Although if you ask her she'll probably say that she gave it to me years ago. Or that she has fond memories of setting up the nativity and her story will strangely resemble mine. Just don't ask her about the "ghetto blaster" we got for Christmas one year.

Just realizing that on this next one I think I have the shepherd boy standing over the baby Jesus and Joseph is standing off to the right. Sheesh, it's hard to tell some of these pieces apart. They should put names on the bottom or something.

Again, probably doesn't count as a nativity but who doesn't like those Willow Tree sculptures? I just love how endearing this is. I'm pretty sure unlike what is typically depicted that Joseph was not standing stoically to the side.

And last but not least my Waterford handblown glass ornaments, which never actually make it to the tree as ornaments. They reside on my mantle with all the other fragile ornaments away from little hands.

I hope that as my son grows older he'll understand that Christmas isn't all about Santa, reindeer, and presents. But know that it is about one gift, a very special gift that came in the form of a baby. A gift for everyone.

Luke 2:8-14 NIV
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.""

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!


Shama-Lama Mama said...

Call me crazy, but I can never read that bible verse without hearing the voice of Linus in my head, reciting it in the spotlight on the stage in "A Charlie Brown Christmas". That's one of those moments I have to have every Christmas season.

Cindy said...

You know I LOVE your sets! Good point about Joseph!! :)

Missy said...

You know I remember that set, and yes I remember you putting it up. Chase and I have put it up for several years now, and I wondered why some of the clothes were strange colors. Mary's clothes is blue like the Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus you have, but one of the shepherds in purple, and one is yellow.