If you visit Fredericksburg UMC near Christmas you will see a large and intricate Nativity scene. It is not uncommon to see families stop and be photographed in front of the unique exhibition. This beautiful nativity scene is donated annually by the Wilson family who, years ago, decided to share their annual family tradition with their church family. The Wilson Nativity scene is a living reminder of the many and varied traditions practiced by families at Christmas.
For the Wilsons, Christmas is about Jesus and the manger, so I asked Mike Wilson to share their story.
âGrowing up in Venezuela,â Mike explained, âit was part of our Roman Catholic tradition to set up a nursery or nursery as we called it. When I was 10, my uncle brought a large set of figurines from Rome for my mother. At that time, we had a living room in the house which was only used for formal visits. It is in this room that we installed the Nativity scene.
âHow did setting up a crÃ¨che become such a complex annual exhibition? ” I asked.
âWhen we started setting up the nursery,â Mike replied, âwe were getting sand, rocks, and cacti from Venezuela to create the terrain that we had imagined from our Bible studies. Over the years we have found that if we grew corn plants, after about 2 weeks they would look like the miniature cacti that we had seen in westerns. From there it developed over the years as we found new and creative ways to install the Nativity. Each year, these are the first of our Christmas decorations to go up just before Advent begins, and the last to come down in January.
âWhat happened after you grew up and started your own family? ” I asked.
âWhen I got married and my parents went abroad, my mother gave me the large Nativity set. We carried on the tradition with my family, looking each year for pieces to add to the set. We purchased a second similar set to share with our church family. For the past few years, my sisters, my nephew and I have come together to honor these memories and the memory of my mother. It was always her desire to share this with her church family, so we think this is a fitting way to honor her and the season she loved right after Easter.
âWhat is an appropriate way to honor your mother and share a precious tradition with your church? ” I answered. But you added some twists and puzzles for the kids, right? “
“Yes!” Mike responded. âWe always include fun for the little ones: Can you find the mouse? (Hint: he’s close to his favorite food). Cat? The chicken and the rooster? The owl? The hermit crab? What about the baby angel? Do you see the conductor? She is also the flight control of the Heavenly Angels host! And don’t miss âAngel Fallsâ, in memory of the country where we grew up. “
âHow funny! I might never look at a nursery the same again.â Thank you to you and the entire Wilson family for sharing a part of your family tradition with your church. We are blessed. . “
âWe thank our church,â Mike replied, âfor allowing us to continue sharing while honoring our mother and hopefully inspiring others on the true meaning of Christmas. This is a time that we have. look forward to as an opportunity to remember and share this tradition. Merry Christmas! “
âAnd while they were there, the time had come for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her eldest son. She wrapped him comfortably in strips of cloth and laid him down in a manger, as there was no accommodation available for them. Luke 2: 6-7