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Archive for Mary

away in a manger

< by Anna >

My family has always had a Nativity set under the Christmas tree. Every year around my mom’s birthday on the 13th, the usual cast of characters comes out of their Tupperware storage bin: Mary, Joseph, some shepherds, some animals, and an angel holding a banner that hovers over the whole crew. We maintain a tradition of keeping the manger empty until Christmas morning, so if you happen to move a vase on the mantel or dig too deep in a candy dish, you may pull a little plastic babe in swaddling clothes from his holiday hiding spot.

The three kings don’t join the party until their appointed day on the Epiphany, or January 6. This camel-riding trio starts off on the top shelf of the china cabinet in the dining room and slowly, day by day, inches its way to the tree in the living room. If we had any artistic wherewithal, we could probably make a poignant stop-motion animated movie about their journey, but instead we just chuckle as they trek across the piano and through pots of poinsettias, gifts in hand.

Well after moving out of my parents’ house and straying from the Catholic fold, I still completely love Nativity sets. I bought an adorable little ceramic set on a trip to Honduras a few years ago and squeal with glee every year when I unpack the colorful figurines. I still hide the Baby Jesus somewhere amusing and the magi on their purple camels still make their journey across the living room (albeit a pretty short journey since my apartment isn’t very big). It’s a tradition I’m sure I’ll carry on when I have a family of my own — maybe we’ll finally make that stop-motion movie after all.