Ok, I spent the majority of the day arranging Santas and Snowmen in an attractive fashion. Weaving white lights among the figures, rearranging as necessary .. up the stepladder and back down numerous times. My legs are killing me. I still have to finish emptying dead things out of the fridge so I can get the trash to the curb. But one more thing before I go to sleep tonight. I’ll put the Manger up.
The one I have is the one my parents used when I was growing up. The figures are chipped and could use some new paint, but I think that would diminish their special-ness for me. I only strew a few scant pieces of hay on the floor, as I’m anticipating a day when I have no straw left, so I’m very stingy using it.
Every year, I look forward to opening the box and removing the edifice into which all the pieces fit nicely, tissue paper wrapped against possible breakage. I spend some time arranging the animals; cows, sheep and a camel and the people; wisemen and shepherd. Then Mary and Joseph take up their positions of waiting.
I never put the Baby in the manger until after midnight on Christmas Eve. It bothers me when I go by an outdoor display with movable pieces and the Baby Jesus is there all through December waving at the cars going by. No, sorry. The deal is the Baby isn’t born till December 25. Therefore the Baby should not be in the crib or the nativity scene until then. Grrrr!
So I find a hiding place for Him. Sometimes behind a candle, sometimes behind a family photo. And every year at midnight I take Him out and place Him in the spot where His parents have been expecting Him to be.
I have four Nativity scenes in all: This largest of them that I inherited from my mother. I also have “Gloria“, a wind up music box Nativity with shepherds resembling Alpine shepherds more than middle eastern ones!
The third is a small handmade Nativity that is very light. It was meant to be hung on the tree as an ornament. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Since I don’t have a tree yet this year, it’s on the mantle with the Santa brigade. I’ve had it for years and earlier on, it was the only Nativity I had. Back in the ‘olden days’.
And the last is a new one, I bought after having bought a similar one the year before as a gift for one of my nieces. It’s an updated version of the previous handmade one. It was also meant as an ornament, but I keep it in my guest room so my mother has one when she visits.
I’ve reconciled that the last two are permanently affixed mangers and therefore, I have to let go of my “no manger until Christmas!” strictly adhered to rule! I must force myself to bend and accept, yet I continue to hope that my friends remember to put the Baby in after His birthday!