It was just a plastic Nativity… A light up plastic Nativity that went in your front yard…
That first Christmas in our new house, my parents bought us Mary, Joseph and Jesus for Christmas. We put them proudly in our front yard. It was a small display, but Mom promised she’d add to it each year and she kept her promise. She followed with Wisemen, then a Shepherd, cow, donkey, another Shepherd, more sheep, another cow. Soon it took up the entire front yard.
I was greatly pregnant with #1 that Christmas. I’d already had three miscarriages and I’d been on bed rest with toxemia since October 7, but I was bound and determined we were going to put out the Nativity. I told Hubby if he’d put it out, I would wire everything. I could do that on my left side. Yes, on the ground, on my left side. In the freezing cold. For hours, I would lay in that position and wrap electrical tape around the wires and think about what it must have been like for Mary who was as greatly pregnant that first Christmas as I was to have traveled that far from her family. Like me, she wasn’t going to be near her mother when it came time for the baby to be born. Was she scared? I was terrified. Unlike me, Mary would give birth in a dirty stable. I was going to give birth in a sterile hospital. But I was sure that my first born was going to be a boy, just like Mary. We’d had no tests to determine the sex, but no girl kicked like this kid did. Mary would only have Joseph to help her deliver her baby, but she knew He’d be born healthy, since He was the son of God. I wasn’t as sure, since my first three pregnancies had ended without a baby to hold and I could have used the same assurance that winter day. I wondered if Mary loved Joseph and if she was ready to be a Mom. But there was one thing I was sure of: Mary was giving birth to a Savior. My child would need to know her baby Boy. I would see to it that they were intimately acquainted.
Well, time passed quickly. The next Christmas, #1, a boy, was a busy 11 month old, and I was yet again, greatly pregnant, this time I was convinced with a girl. Hubby and I added to the Nativity and put it once again into the front yard. #1 played among the little people. In May of that year, #2 was born, a girl.
When #1 was about 4 years old, we were putting out the Nativity and he asked me “Mom, is this the Baby Jesus that loves me?” “Yes, son, He is. Not this plastic toy, but what it represents.” We sat down and read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible together. It was at the foot of the Nativity that my little boy got that Jesus loved him enough to die for him on the cross.
God was blessing our family and like our Nativity, they were growing fast.
Too fast for our little house, and so we decided to sell it and get a bigger house. We packed up all our belongings and move to a bigger house, with a bigger yard and Mom once again added to the Nativity to celebrate. This time Santa and a Snowman made an appearance in the background. And a few years after we settled in, #3, a girl blessed our house.
For the last few years, we have been living life and the Nativity has become almost a chore. I thought the kids were tired of it at times, because they’d fuss about having to bring things down from the attic and having to put it out and having to wire it. But then tonight, something happened that made me realize how much that Nativity meant to me and to the kids. Someone stole it. Every bit of it. Even the stakes that held it to the ground. The kids were devastated. #1 more than any of us.
What they didn’t steal are my memories. #1 playing in amongst the Nativity when he wasn’t much taller than they were. #2 telling the Nativity a story her first Christmas when she was just 7 months old. She could barely stand up, but she stood there and told Mary a long story in toddler babble. #3 and the cat playing chase amongst the Nativity and hide and seek in the stable. Today, all three of my children know Jesus as their Savior. They all have grown up with the Nativity as part of our life, the Savior as part of their Christmas. No thief in the night can ever take that away from them.
So if you took our Nativity, please bring it back. It has no monetary value. It only has sentimental value to my children. It has memories for me.
They say you don’t know how much you appreciate something until it is gone. Now that it’s gone, I really miss my Nativity Creatures.