Monday, December 5, 2011

What Child Is This?

This is my Nativity village. Please, click on the image to see it larger so you can enjoy all the people who live there. When I was about six or seven years old, Nanny The World's Meanest Woman, took me downtown during the Christmas season. She was on a very specific mission that trip.

She had decided that I should have a Creche. She didn't tell me what she had in mind until we got to the floor where there was a huge array of Nativity scenes all clustered together. Some were large, some very small. Some were simple and others grand. All brightly colored. The figures of some looked like works of art. I was amazed by all the people and all the baby Jesus and Marys and Josephs and shepherds and wise men. It was a sight and all these years later, I can still remember it clearly.

Nanny and I walked slowly, stopping to admire the figurines. When we got through all of them, it was then that she announced that she wanted to buy one for me. I could pick whichever one I wanted. Her only wish was that I pick one made in Italy, of course. I was absolutely thrilled; then I was overwhelmed. So many pretty ones to pick from. I took quite awhile deciding.

I finally rested on the manger with the deep blue background and the gold figurines. They seemed so rich and regal. I liked that they were different from all the other brightly painted ones. The angel watching over the baby was tall and stately. The baby's face was sweet and Mary seemed beautiful to me. A face that I imagined my Mother's might be, or hoped. I was still young enough to dream that my Mom would come home and we would meet.

We wrapped it up and took it home. I was thrilled to show Daddy. We put it under the Christmas tree and I remember sitting and gazing at it. It wasn't until the next Christmas, that I realized that my set didn't have any shepherds with it; just the three wise men! That was a bit disappointing. After all, it was the shepherds who welcomed the new baby; the wise men didn't get there until three years after!

Over the years, I rectified that shortage by purchasing town's people and shepherds and animals to come and question, "What Child is this?" And each Christmas season, I looked at it with new eyes as I unpacked the pieces and set it up in a major spot of each of my homes. Each Christmas Eve when the clock struck midnight clear, I placed the Baby Jesus between Mary and Joseph and stopped to offer a prayer to the season and whisper my wishes for the year to come.

And, that Nativity has been part of all the Christmas Eves that Laura and Sean and all my friends and family shared in my home over the years.

Now that Laura has Livy and Ava, I decided it is time to pass it to her so she and her girls can have it as part of their Christmas traditions. So, I packed it all up and when we were down to visit a week or so ago I gave it to her, telling the story of Nanny taking me to pick it out. She was delighted and said, "Livy will love this, Aunt Holly! Are you sure you want to give this to us now? Don't you want to keep it?"

And, the answer is yes; yes, I want to keep it. It's been part of Christmas for the past 50 years! But more than wanting to keep it, is the feeling of happiness I get when I think of Livy and Ava helping Laura unwrap the pieces and setting it up in their home. I've always known I was going to give it to Laura...and it seemed a good time, this year I am 56, to do it now.

But, as much as I might feel a twinge at having passed it along to my beloved girl and her girls, I won't feel sad. Because the trick of living life well is to learn to find the new in the old. And the need to begin new customs that turn into traditions. And, that's what Michael and I are doing as we experience each passing Christmas with each other.

So, this is my nativity now. Simple and serene. With only the central figures from the story to remind me of the beauty of the season. Michael and I picked it together and the crystal stars, one for each Christmas we've shared, glitter over their heads.

The representation is different, but the Child is the same. The story still has deep meaning. And, now as I build memories with My Lion, I know that another important part of my Christmas past will continue through Laura, Eric, Livy, and Ava.

After all, that's really the meaning of the season, isn't it?

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Louisa Dituri's grand daughter, aka Great Aunt Holly


Eva Gallant said...

What a lovely story and a lovely tradition to pass on to your niece and her children!

Alison said...

I always love your stories, Holly.

Cinner said...

Love this Holly, love that you passed it on and will get enjoyment out of them using it. I do love the new one, it is very beautiful. hugs and love.

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a thoughtful thing to do... Livy and Ava will grow up always remembering your Nativity village. That's an important and meaningful memory for them to carry in their hearts. As they grow older, I'm sure the fact that it is from you will make it all the more special to them.

Your new set is beautiful with just as much meaning and love behind it.

Merry Christmas my friend. xoxox jj

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

My Previous Musings