Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. ~Confucius
2016 is on the way, but it’s still Christmas week and actually the Wise Men didn’t make it to see the baby Jesus exactly on the day he was born. It was a little while before they made their way following the star to Bethlehem. No jet planes back in those days.
And so I have a little more of Christmas to share. My son-in-law made me this Nativity scene from shells from our vacation at Edisto Beach last summer. He and my daughter picked up and gave a critical eye to many shells. Did this or that one look like Mary? Or the Wise Men? Some made the cut and some didn’t. But he carried home a sackful of shells and come Christmas time made several Nativity scenes like this one he gave to me. You have to use your imagination a bit, but not all that much. For me, it’s easy to see the Wise Men bowing and worshiping the new baby, Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. Mary is watching over her baby and Joseph is watching over them all while the shepherd bows. Obviously, sheep shaped shells are extremely rare and we didn’t find any of those.
But it’s a lovely representation made out of nature’s plenty. Sand on wood. Shells on sand. Sometimes the handmade gifts are the best. He was feeling very creative this year and handcrafted a necklace for my daughter from a piece of sea glass they found on the beach. It too was lovely.
Many of you talked about gifts you have made for others or that someone made for you in the stories you sent me for my Christmas giveaway. The giveaway is over. The prizes given, but I have one more story about a Nativity set from Barbara.
Barbara’s Nativity Set Story
“I don’t usually enter these kind of contest but could not resist this one. Especially because I so love your writings. My Mother had 5 sisters and I always loved sitting at their feet listening to stories about the depression days and how their precious Dad kept all these girls together after their Mother died. My Mother was the 3rd youngest and was 8 when her Mother died. The older girls always helped their Dad see to the younger ones. I never had the privilege to met my grandfather he died of TB before I was born.
Nativity sets have always been so special to me and after my youngest daughter Susie passed away after living, so bravely with brain cancer for 3 years, I noticed in the local paper the Park & Rec Dept was offering ceramic classes and one of the choices was a 17 pc. nativity scene. For weeks my Mother and I choose to dress in layers and start a very big project to make 4 of these sets. We gathered around a pot belly stove in the Parks and Rec bldg and started our project. It was such fun. My Mother very wisely said lets put our initials on the bottom of each piece we make. Which we did and to this day I am so grateful. I love each year when I put my scene on my mantel. I love when I pick up a piece my Mother finished. She lived to be 90. I kept one set, gave one to my Sister and two others to two of the dearest friends who loved Susan and was always there for her. I’m enclosing a picture of this treasure that starts Christmas each year for me and my family.”
Thanks, Barbara. No wonder Nativity Sets are special to you and especially those you and your mother made. Barbara also shared a very touching story with me about her daughter that was published in Guideposts. I need to see if she would be willing to let me share it with you all.
Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them. ~David Hume
May you find many things of beauty in the coming year and may your cup run over with blessings.