THE PERFECT NATIVITY TWO DECADES LATER

December 1, 2011 | By More

What I am about to share is not meant to make anyone out there feel bad about their Nativity. Your Nativity is perfect. Let me say it one more time; your Nativity is perfect; there is nothing wrong with it.

You see, I have a Nativity pet peeve. I didn’t know I had this pet peeve until I got married 27 years ago. That is probably because up until that time I had never really given Nativity sets much thought.

There had really only been two Nativity sets in my life that I remember: the one my Granny Wheeler had, where everything and everybody was all white. (We were not allowed to touch this set.) And the one my mother always put out — which had Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus all dressed in gold.

Hold the presses. I need to call my mother, because I just remembered something about her set…

I just got off the phone with my mother. I made her go dig out her nativity set (as I write this it is only November 12). Sure enough — I think I may have found the source of my pet peeve.

In my mother’s set Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus all have brown hair and deep brown eyes. They even have a tan skin tone. In other words, they look Jewish! This would make sense since they were Jewish. Now that is not my pet peeve, but it is the root of my pet peeve.

So, with all of that now in its proper perspective, let me take you back 27 years ago. Upon my marriage to Donald, I began to look for what would become our family Nativity set. Unfortunately, since it took me 23 years of marriage to find it, my children did not grow up with the memory of a large Nativity set in our home. Isn’t that sad?

I am now comforting myself with the fact that they did have a little plastic one that they were allowed to play with. (Oh well, the future grandchildren will always remember this big one.) And like my Granny Wheeler’s nativity set, they will not be allowed to touch it. Anyway, back to the quest for the perfect Nativity.

Remember, I had never really given Nativity sets much thought, but since we got married on December 29th, there were lots of them on sale everywhere Donald and I went. It was then that I began to realize that most of the Holy families in these Nativities looked anything but Jewish.

I remember having a conversation with myself – yes I do that, and I even answer myself – about who was designing these things and didn’t they know these people were suppose to be Jewish?

I am not kidding you, and my husband can testify to this, we went to a Christmas store and we could not find one Holy family with brown hair or brown eyes. All the Nativities included a blond haired, blue-eyed baby Jesus.

And Mary was no better; as a matter of fact she was worse. She would have this long blonde hair and porcelain white skin. Had anyone read the history books? These people were of Jewish origin. Once and a while I would even come across one where Jesus had strawberry blond hair. Really people? Really?

Somewhere along the way it became some kind of badge of honor with me: I was not going to buy a Nativity set until I found one that was, at the very least, not Scandinavian. Oh I know I could have opted for an all white one like my granny. But no, I wanted a Holy Family that looked at least kinda, sorta like what these people might have looked like. Crazy, I know.

Fortunately for me, I had mentioned this Nativity obsession to my florist, Joe Turner. One day, four years ago, when I was in his shop picking up a corsage for one of my son’s dates, Joe mentioned these new Nativity sets he had just gotten in.

When I saw the set, the skies opened and the angels sang. Ok, not really, but still… Eureka! I had found it. It was big; it was sorta, kinda, Jewish. Yes, Joseph’s lips do look like he may have a circulatory problem, but baby Jesus and Mary were looking good. You would have thought I had won the lottery. I was thrilled.

Now I am on a quest to find the perfect Wise Man set. Who knows it could be another 23 years. I want it to be in scale with my Holy Family, which doesn’t even make sense since I won’t put the Wise Men anywhere near the Nativity set.

Why, you ask? Because the Wise Men didn’t visit the stable where Jesus was born. (I know, I know, this is a sickness. I should seek help.)

You normal people — please go ponder the miracles of this Season. I promise I will get around to doing the same. But first, I must ponder if I should paint Joseph’s lips a different color. He really does look like he might be ill.

 

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Category: Every Day Life

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