"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)
A few years ago I decided I wanted to put more of "Christ" back in Christmas, for myself individually and for my family. I had collected Santas, but I also wanted to collect Nativity sets. As I pondered this collection, I didn't want to just find nice sets at stores. I wanted my nativity sets to have a special memory. So as I've traveled, I've collected a few sets along the way, and I want to share the stories and pictures with you.
The Nativity set that means the most to me is one I purchased in Israel. My Father-in-law and Mother-in-law were generous enough to take all of their 9 children and spouses on a trip to the Holy Land one year. They decided it was more important to spend the inheritance money creating memories, and all of us couldn't have agreed more. The trip we shared as a family is one of the highlights of my life.
It's one thing to read the Bible and hear the stories of the Savior. Being in the land where he walked and taught made the stories so much more real and meaningful. Every time I look at this olive wood set I remember a 10 day trip that had tremendous impact on my life.
One year my girlfriend Beth and I went on a quilt tour to Lancaster County with Bonnie Miles of Heritage Tours. Bonnie is a personal friend and her tour through Amish country was one of the neatest things I've ever done. She is friends with an Amish family and we were able to spend a day at their house, watching them do their chores, and getting to know their way of life. At night we were fed the most wonderful dinner, and then we sang songs around the kitchen table. There were 8 in our tour group, and they requested we sing to them songs from our church. They in turn sang songs from their hymnal.
We shopped at wonderful quilt stores, visited Gettysburg, and other historical sites.
One stop was at "Eldreth Pottery" in Oxford, PA. I purchased this beautiful salt glazed stoneware nativity to remember my wonderful trip.
I served on the board of the Utah Quilt Guild (State board) for three years before I moved to Southern Utah. I was the treasurer, and formed many wonderful memories. Every year the state guild puts on a "Quilt Fest". We bring in several national quilt teachers, and offer classes and activities that run for 4 days. The Quilt Fest draws around 500 people for our classes and is a lot of work to put together. The time I spent with the Guild was a great experience for me. One year I saw this small salt dough Nativity set at a booth in the vendors mall. Look at how small some of the pieces are! I think the baby Jesus is maybe 1/8th of an inch long. How the artist could create such detail with so many small pieces is amazing to me.
I love the simplicity of this stone Nativity set. I purchased this up at Daniels Summit. I have spent the last 10 years going with Quilts, Etc. to their annual retreat, and have so many happy memories of being with my girlfriends for a fun get away. When I look at this set I think of happy times at Daniels Summit.
A few summers ago we went on a cruise to Alaska with my brother. He had just lost his wife of 32 years, and this was the first trip he felt up to taking without her. I love my brother dearly, and our family was so happy to be able to share this trip with him. I had never been to Alaska, and thought the idea of an igloo nativity was very original.
I made this Nativity cross stitch for my mother- in- law. With her passing, Grandpa sent items back our way. Now when I place this on my fireplace shelf, I remember Grandma.
I am grateful for this time of year, and for the opportunity to remember the true meaning of Christmas which is to honor the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.