I have the most beautiful manger set you could imagine. But the beauty isn’t wrapped up in how it looks on the outside. My crèche has a beauty that comes from the hands that made it, the love that went into creating this place of hope and faith for me.
The walls are made up of old barn siding that was found here and there. The nails that hold it together are bent and crooked, and there are so many gaps in the corners, you are sure to feel a breeze blow through.
But it came from my husband. And it came with love.
It was our first Christmas as husband and wife, and we were poor as dirt, trying to find a way to celebrate Christmas without spending any money. So we made handmade ornaments for our families, and decided not to exchange gifts with each other.
But on Christmas morning, Mike surprised me with this handmade crèche. And every year since, he has blessed me with one figurine to fill our crèche with the story of
After sixteen years of marriage, our wooden crèche has become quite full. There are several angels that sit on top, watching from above. There are shepherds, maidens carrying water jugs, goats, oxen, sheep, camels and even three kings. And of course, there is Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus, wrapped in clothes, lying in a bed of straw at the center of it all.
When our first child was born, I decided our precious crèche was too precious to let little hands touch. So we put it up high on a shelf. But as our family grew, and the kids grew, I finally gave in and let them play with each and every piece.
Our growing crèche has become a treasured family heirloom of sorts. Not because of its beauty. Because old barn siding with cracks and dings isn’t that hard to find.
Not because of the many figurines. Because each piece is replaceable at any gift shop most places you travel.
Our crèche has become a family heirloom because of the love that went into making it, and the love that goes into playing with it every Christmas.
Year after year, my children arrange and rearrange the pieces, sometimes moving the angels closer to Jesus, sometimes the shepherds. They spend hours acting out the Christmas story with these precious figurines in this broken down, handmade crèche, and every year I marvel at their creativity and love for Christmas.
The story began in a stable, with Mary and Joseph, some cattle and sheep.
The story began with a star in the sky shining brightly, leading the way.
The story began with shepherd, abiding in the field with their flock, seeing angels singing praises.
The story began in Bethlehem, in a drafty manger since there was no room at the inn.
The story began when Jesus was born, when God Himself came down to earth to show us how much He loves us.
And the beauty of the Christmas story isn’t wrapped up in how it looks on the outside. How pretty your tree is or how much you spend on the gifts you exchange.
The story of Christmas has a beauty that comes from the hands that made the world, the love that went into creating this place and the gift of love that gives us hope and faith.
The story of Christmas is beautiful because it is Heaven sent.
And if you hold onto that - then the story never ends.