Over the years I have acquired at least five nativity sets, not including all the figurines and nightlights that are single pieces. I'm talking five separate sets of people.
By now you all know about our vast Christmas collection.
The first nativity I got was when my cousin was selling for a home based group. I bought a set from her with glass figurines and a mirrored base. It was small and simple, and it served the purpose I needed it to when I was in college.
The second one was a gift I got from my aunt at my bridal shower. The third was the set that my grandmother used to display in her house, and it was passed to me the year she died. It is one of my most cherished Christmas items, and the kids know it is important to me. They know they can't touch that one.
When Aidan was a baby, my mother in law made a set from tiny terra cotta pots. It's adorable, and no matter what I tried, the kids always wanted to play with it. As with all the other sets, I'd shoo them away and direct them towards the special toys and books that came out at Christmas time. I had other figurines for the kids to keep in their rooms, but they always wanted to play with the people in the sets.
About three years ago, back when I was actively ebaying, I came across a ceramic nativity set at a garage sale. All the characters were children, the colors muted and soft. The pieces weren't in perfect condition, but the set was complete. I bought it initially planning to sell it. I should have known better.
As soon as I brought it home, Ashley found it. She carefully took the little statutes from the foam box and set them up on the table and began to play with them. Ally noticed and started to play too. Aidan came over and told the girls that the baby wasn't just a baby. He was Jesus. They looked at him, not really understanding what that meant, but figuring he knew what he was talking about.
I didn't sell it.
I figured that it was better for the kids to have a set that they actually could touch and feel and play with. That they could set up and read books to and tell stories about. Through these tiny statues, they have learned the story of Jesus' birth, the tale of the Three Kings. They have learned what Christmas is really about.
Every year, we need to do some repairs to the pieces. A natural by product of little kids playing with ceramic statues is that sometimes there are accidents. Sometimes something breaks.
Sometimes someone loses a head.
As we were unpacking the decorations a few weeks ago, I noticed one of the kings needed his head reattached. It's okay, though. They invented super glue for a reason.
Just like I found this nativity set for a reason.
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