My aunt visited the Holy Land and brought my mother back a beautiful olive-wood creche. It had all the main characters as well as the supporting cast of sheep, cows, shepherds holding lambs, shepherds leaning on their staffs, and others I don't remember. Heaven only knows what happened to that creche.
Over the past month, I've been longingly looking online at olive-wood creches. Lusting after them in my heart. But then I look up at the mantle and see our current creche.
It's an old shoebox turned on it's long side with the short sides cut so that it resembles a stable. The empty manger is a matchbox with X's glued to its sides to make it stand on the raffia "hay". Baby Jesus, who's stowed behind the "stable" until Christmas Eve, is a wine-bottle cork wrapped in a scrap of white cloth. Mary and Joseph are on the bookcase on the west side of the room, while the Three Wise Men are on the piano on the east side of the room. All five, plus the shepherd on another bookcase and the angel at the stable, are made from toilet paper rolls with different squares of cloths glued to the top as their scarves and their faces painted with water colors to differing degrees of human likeness by my then-preschool-aged children.
How do you trade in such a masterpiece as a handmade toilet-paper-roll-and-shoebox creche for a hand-carved olive-wood straight-from-the-Holy-Land creche? Two simple words.
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