Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Three mangers...and a ring, once lost, is found...


(click on any photos to enlarge)

I was so lucky to be in the right place at the right time to get these beautiful white nativity figures - Salvation Army being the right place, and "shortly after these nativity figurines arrived" being the right time. (At least I'm assuming these large-sized figures had just arrived because I can't think of any other reason they hadn't already been scooped up at the ridiculously low price of under $10 for the whole set!!!)

For several Christmases I just set them out on the hearth or hutch, but about four years ago I happened to spot this beautiful oversized manger at Target! It looked as though it was made specifically for my figurines, right down to the little flat roof for the praying angel to kneel on...

As a finishing touch, I found a sparkly star ornament to hang from the roof of the manger. I never get tired of looking at this nativity scene... It is definitely one of my favorites...



This beautiful white nativity set was another 'right time/right place' purchase. I found it at another second hand store on a 50% off day a couple of years after purchasing the first manger figurines. It's a four piece ceramic set and I absolutely love it. It's also one of my favorites (can you have two favorites?)...


But this manger/nativity set is my absolute favorite... This is the set that belonged to my mom... As a matter of fact, I just posted a 1980's photo of it from my mom's house. This is the nativity set she lovingly put in the 'well' above her front door each and every Christmas.


My mother became ill during 1996 and passed away on December 21st of that year. The manger was never put out that year. No Christmas decorations were.


It took my dad 11 years to get to the point where he felt he could do a little decorating around his house. My mom was always the one who did the decorating. I think it was very hard for him to face doing it alone. My sister and I had offered to help him over the years, but he wasn't ready and he always declined.


But last Christmas, eleven years after mom passed away, dad decided he wanted to put up their tree and some ornaments. He wanted to just keep it simple with the tree and ornaments, so my sister and I started going through all the old Christmas decorations stored in cardboard boxes down in the basement. After getting out the tree and ornaments for dad, we divided the rest of the decorations between us.


It was wonderful, but also bittersweet, going through all of mom's beautiful old Christmas decorations, lovingly wrapped in newspapers from the first week of January, 1996, which is when had been put away for the last time... I felt like Mom was there with us as we unwrapped her decorations, each one bringing back so many memories. It was so exciting to see the manger again, which now has a permanent home at our house.
As I was unwrapping the decorations in the very last box, I found an incredible gift... I believe it was a sign from mom that she was, indeed, there with us that day...


There, hardly visible in a corner of the very last cardboard box I was going through, was the mother's ring we'd given Mom a few years before she passed away (although the stones look black, they're actually dark blue sapphires). In early 1996, shortly before mom got sick, she told me how upset she was because she couldn't find her ring. She always wore it, but one day she noticed it was missing from her finger. She had searched high and low, but never found it. The only thing she could think of was that it had fallen off her finger without her realizing it.
Apparently that January of 1996, when my mom was putting her Christmas decorations away for the year, the ring slipped off of her finger and into one of the boxes. And there it remained for 11 years, until last Christmas, when we finally felt ready to go through all of Mom's decorations.

I wear mom's ring every day now. I'm certain she had something to do with me finding it among newspapers and glitter in the bottom of the very last cardboard box I opened...
I love you, Mom... Merry Christmas...
Donna

16 comments:

tam said...

Awww how special to find your mother's ring like that-I am sure she did have a hand in it! And great find on the nativity scene!
Merry Christmas!
Tam:)

Mo said...

I love, love love your Nativity scenes! If I had planned better I should have hosted a "Display Your Nativity Scene" party. I keep looking at pictures of trees and wreaths, but Nativity scenes really bring the holiday into perspective. Thanks for sharing!

Glenda said...

What a sweet gift you received. I would have no doubt that mom had something to do with it. I just believe in that way. May you have a Merry Christmas.

Kathleen said...

I love your Nativity sets, especially your Mom's. We had a similar one...it is still my favorite. My Mom passed away in 2002, but when my brother and sisters and I get together at Christmas, we always talk of Christmases past, spent with my Mom. Those memories are priceless. Merry Christmas! Kathleen

Lady of the Mote said...

what a special gift your Mom gave you.Merry Christmas.

laurie said...

What a lovely story about your mother's nativity set and her ring! It brought tears to my eyes. Your other sets are so pretty too. Thank you so much for sharing this. laurie

Claudia said...

What an amazing, wonderful story!! She led you to that ring and I'm so glad you wear it now.

cargol said...

Such a touching post Donna. This is only the second Christmas season since my Mom has passed and it's difficult as she loved all the activity of the holidays. A few years ago I found chalkware nativity figures (like the ones I grew up with) and then found that same manger that you got at Target (It's perfect for my set too, as the background is almost the same yellow as my walls) Wishing you the happiest of holidays!
Carole

DEB said...

You were certainly meant to find that ring, a lovely gift from your Mom. I love your nativities, reminds me of one I had growing up as a child. Thanks for sharing.

~Becca~Bluebird Rose said...

Thank you for sharing that with us; how very special!!
Blessings to you at Christmas and in the New Year....
:)
~Becca~

Peggy. said...

What a special story.

Peggy
http://pegslifeinthebuttonjar.blogspot.com/

Tracey said...

I am Kathy's sister,, I too love your nativity scene..I think we had one just like it. Did you happen to get the figures in Woolworth's?? I remember them, especially the Gloria angel. Love to reminisce about the days past. It's great to see the manger scene.. thanks for the memories... Tracey

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

What beautiful nativity sets, and even more special because you found them at a great price!

I loved the story of finding your mother's ring. It was meant for you to find it!

Also really loved your post about your mother. What a sad time of year to lose a loved one! I imagine Christmas was really hard for a good many years after that.

Kady

Anonymous said...

Loved reading your post today. I think there was an angel there with you and your sister when you found your mother's ring. What a wonderful story to tell.

Merry Christmas! Debbi

Vintagesquirrel said...

I love the story about your finding your mother's ring. I'm sure she was with you when you find it and is smiling down on you that you've decided to wear it in her memory.

Also, when I looked at your first nativity scene, I thought, "What a lovely manger!" When you stated that you found it at Target, I was amazed. It looks so rustic and not at all like something you'd find in modern-day dept. stores. Great find - I'm on the lookout for one myself to use with a set of simple, white nativity figurines. I've got a photo on my blog of the set that was given to me by my SIL, who is no longer with us.

Cami @ Creating Myself said...

This post moved me to tears!

What a sweet, touching, personal story to share w/ us...thank you!