My wife likes nativity scenes. We have some very nice ones that we have acquired over the years. We also have a couple of new ones; I picked up a stone nativity at St. John’s College in Minnesota last summer and we bought a “brush” type—you’d have to see it to understand—at a store in Augusta a few months ago.
I like the new and nice ones, too.
My favorite nativity scene, though, is neither new nor nice. In fact, it has to be at least 50 years old, and it’s showing its age.
My favorite nativity is very simple. The crÃ¨che is made of plain brown wood; much of the roof material has disappeared over the years. The ceramic figures of the wise men, the shepherd (there’s only one) and the holy family are showing some wear and tear.
My favorite nativity is not nearly as attractive as our other ones. But right now it’s the only one that we have displayed. That’s because all of our others are still packed away in their crates which are in turn packed away on a moving truck which is in turn packed away on the moving company’s lot. That’s because our house here in our new home of Fitzgerald is still not quite ready.
But my favorite nativity was in my office closet in Augusta because for many years now I’ve been displaying it in my study at Christmas time. So while the movers were packing my office I rescued it and put it in our car. And so it is now displayed in the den of the lovely house that is serving as our temporary residence.
My favorite nativity belonged to my parents. It was the only one they displayed, and it was always given pride of place in our little house during the Christmas season. As it reminds me of the birth of Christ, it also reminds me of my good parents and of the good home in which they raised me.
My favorite nativity is plain and simple yet somehow profound—kind of like my parents.
I’m glad we still have it.
Michael Ruffin is pastor of First Baptist Church in Fitzgerald, Ga. This column originally appeared on his blog.
Curriculum editor with Smyth & Helwys Publishing in Macon, Georgia.