December 3, 2022 by Margaret Stafford

January 19, 2023

“Touching and Feeling the Love”

I call it the manger scene, but you may call it a nativity set.

Today I remember the manger scene I grew up with. The stable, created by my dad, was made from smooth, split cherry limbs with a roof of prickly pine needles. With Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, a shepherd, three wise men, an angel, sheep and a cow placed just so, I stood in awe. I was allowed to TOUCH each one, but I could pick up only one small lamb.

The Christmas before Joe and I married, I decided to create my own manger scene. Off to the dime store I went to select each nativity figure. Each one felt cool and smooth to the TOUCH, but I wanted them to feel special. Carefully I glued on red, blue, and green velvet for the wise men’s robes, cotton fur collars and glitter on the gift boxes. The angel, I painted white with a gold cord at the waist. Mary had a blue corduroy shawl, Joseph had a tan wool cloak, and the she

pherd wore brown terrycloth wrap. The cow was plain brown. Camels and donkeys were made from olive wood that my parents brought back from the Holy Land. A variety of sheep were made from plaster, metal, and wood. Small pieces of real straw covered the floor of the stable which Joe made from rough barn boards and a roof covered with brown dried daylily leaves from Joe’s mother’s flower bed. In the center of everyone else, lay Baby Jesus wrapped with white cording in a rough brown manger.

So, for 59 Christmas seasons, this manger scene has been lovingly assembled as the center of our Christmas decorations. Every year, with reverence, our family unwrapped each figure from the well-worn tissue paper, and placed it in the stable.

As each Christmas season ends, the message is the same – God loves us. Let us celebrate! 

Margaret Stafford

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