Sunday, December 24, 2023

Nativity Scene


Two battered shoe boxes hold what is left of the family Nativity sets. My grandmother's set is in sad shape, having been set up and rearranged by two children, five grandchildren and many little visitors. The original baby Jesus, a separate ceramic figure with a wooden manger cushioned with bits of real straw,  disappeared ages ago. The replacement, still bearing a twenty-nine cent sticker from Woolworth's, is proportionally too large for Mary and Joseph. Grandma replaced some of the broken sheep legs with matchsticks. Two Magi are missing hands. This year Aunt Margaret’s set is out. She had no children and we tried to be good guests, admiring but not touching. Don't look too closely at the cow, which has lost one horn and both of its fabric or leather ears. These old friends have been helping family members celebrate Christmas for eighty-something years.