“For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
I find something heartwarming about Christmas traditions and ending the year with bright, colorful, celebrations. There is such a unique sweetness in the air when the spirit of hospitality permeates hearts and homes. I love how baking sends sentimental scents through the house, Christmas decorations fill rooms with colorful and glowing festivity, visitors and house guests create special memories, holiday events provide for fun moments together, and gift-giving stirs excitement and expectations. But, of all of the traditions that make Christmas memorable, the one I am most thankful for is getting to display the nativity set I inherited from my Mom. This special nativity is my most cherished Christmas decoration.
Since my Aunt Esther lived out of town and was too far away for us to visit, we didn’t see her for the holidays. Yet, she was still a memorable part of our Christmases. For many years, Aunt Esther sent my Mom a beautiful Poinsettia. It was a tradition that made me feel like she was part of our celebration. I remember waiting excitedly for the day it would be delivered. She touched our lives with her sweet gesture and I’ve always remembered her for it.
As far back as I can remember my Aunt Esther sold Avon. In fact, she gave me an Avon bracelet, when I was about nine years old, that I still have. Her nativity set is also from Avon. The catalog pages with the prices from previous orders and the last catalog book (1993) are stored with the receipts among the boxes. Each item has its own box with the figurine pictured on the sides and every year these pieces are carefully repackaged for storage after the holidays until time to decorate the next year.
This white porcelain nativity set was collected by my Aunt Esther starting in 1983. When she passed, in 2007, it was gifted to my Mom. When my Mom passed in November, 2020, the nativity was passed on to me. It meant a lot to my Mom to have Aunt Esther’s beautiful nativity set and it means a lot to me to have it on display in my home. Now that they are both gone, I cherish how this tradition reminds me of them and how they celebrated Christmas while making the holidays special for us.
When we set up the nativity set, we continue our tradition by putting the baby Jesus figurine in a red gift box to remind us that Christ’s birth was a gift. On Christmas Eve, we un-wrap him and place him in the manger.
Family traditions don’t have to be complicated, elaborate, or expensive. Sweet memories are the best investment and Christmas is about remembering God’s gift to the world.
“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
A nativity scene is a great way to remind us of His gift for generations.
Bring It Home
If you display a nativity scene, what does it look like?
Praying for you as we grow together,