Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I am asked quite often this time of year what my favorite creche is. The questions refers to my collection of 70 odd creches that I have accumulated over a 30 year period. I have all kinds, sizes, and mediums of nativity scenes from all over the world.

There is the mud formed into shapes that is Uganda; there is the finely carved and chiseled Madagascar; there is the pious black bear Holy Family that is Montana. They are so special to me and have touched my heart over and again throughout the years. I love them.

But the one that's the most special is not sophisticated, not from an exotic place in the world, not even unique in that I am certain this particular nativity scene was mass produced. It is the snowman set from Kansas. It came to me as a birthday present but even though it was fall, I took it out of the box and set it up on my desk. I would talk on the phone and look at the devilishly cute snowmen Wise Men and just laugh to myself as I plowed through the particular work of the day.

One day I was in a long, protracted conversation with a guy on the phone detailing depreciation strategies and as I was deep in conversation with the client in my left ear, my right ear was watching the angel snowman, who had a sign that said 'Fear not!'. I was thinking about that as this conversation about depreciation went on and on and remembered in my right ear that fear was a major tenet and warning in John Paul's ministry. He wrote a book about fear, cautioning us that our faith and spiritual life is highly susceptible to erosion and disintegration at the hand of fear and that The Dark is is largely composed of and sustained by fear. And then the question came into my right ear that rang loud and hard with peals of clarity: Who is more vulnerable than a snowman? Whose fate, whose destiny is more sealed than a snowman? Whose demise is most certain in this life? Our beloved buddies, the snowmen. Yet their sign directs us Don't worry about it! It's all good! It'll all sort out in an order that might not seem or feel right at the moment, but it will sort out in the right order. Fear not!

And that's the love and the hope of advent for me: "Fear not; for I bring you glad tidings of great joy!"

So the snowmen, all of them, may be devilishly cute but they are all very Wise Men. As Garth Brooks put it, 'Heaven is not beyond the clouds; Heaven is beyond the fear.'


JBelle
Bellemaison
The 'Kan EWA

10 comments:

inlandempiregirl said...

What a great thing to collect. The snowmen are too cute. I still have the one I picked out of the Sears Wish Book when I was about nine years old. I posted your recipe for the wonderful Cranberry Chutney and (of course) gave you credit and did a link to your blog.

MarmiteToasty said...

Oh my, oh my.......I LOVE the snowman one....

We have a knitted, yes bloody knitted set of 3 wisemen, bloody shepherds, Mary and that Joseph bloke a baby in a manger (which we couldnt find last year) a white and a black sheep... that my mother made for my boys many years ago....they stand about 10 inches tall..... it is very cleverly done even though it sounds gross LOL.... I drag it out every year cos its one of the only ties my lads have to my mother, their grandmother..... I darent tell them the truth, it is not for their ears..... let them just remember a different side.....

Its strange, but even though I dont do god, I LOVE little nativity scenes LOL... maybe its cos I was the dam donkey in our navitity in the infants school when I was about 6, no teatowel headed clad Mary for me, no, a bloody donkey, and I had two half coconut shells to click together to sound like hooves LMFAO...... jebus I remember that like it was yesterday.... I dropped one half of the shell and it rolled under the school piano that was on stage and instead of me just leaving it there, no, I had to crawl under and try and get it LOL.....

My mother and father did not come to watch, but I remember my sister bunking off work to come and watch.... funny some of the things we remember in life...

x

BX_boy said...

BRAVO!!

I wish I could have been there to see them all displayed.

I hope you took a lot of pictures!

Kerri Thoreson said...

Sweet Jbelle, I'm inconsolable after missing your celebration of Christmas in person. Your blog is always a visual gift to be unwrapped at any time of the year but this collection of nativity is especially inspired. Thank you for sharing.
And thank you for the equally inspired words relating to fear. Fear came to live in my life in January when my heart required medical intervention for the second time. I realize that the fear of another attack has kept me from fully living.
Begone fear! Jbelle has shown me the path. :) Bring on life and living! Hey if it works for the snowman, who am I to quibble?

JBelle said...

We gotta plow ahead, Kerri, no matter how scarey it appears. I hope 2009 is the very best year of your entire life. And if I ever see you again in person, I will hug and kiss and toast you. I love you now and always. No matter what.

JBelle said...

Bronx Boy, I have lots of pictures, just for you. The Discovery School nativity was met with great appreciation but concern: where the baby?!

JBelle said...

Mel, I love the stories of your childhood, even if they haunt you--which I am sorry about. Really sorry. Sad, too. I bet, despite your memory, you were stand up boffo in your role as the donkey in the school play. I'm quite impressed that at sometime, they did this sort of thing in England. Bravo. Also, I have the knitted nativities which are super cute. No matter what they look like, they are properly noted as expressions of adoration and you don't have to 'do God' to express adoration. You YOU are perfect adoration. That's why, like me, you love 'em. Can ya photo your set? I'd sure love to see it.

JBelle said...

Mel: I have SEEN the knitted nativities. SEEN them!

JBelle said...

Mrs. Roosevelt (insert pink heart here): I would love to see your set, too. Can you photo it? I have my childhood set, Joe Montana's and the sets all 3 kids made or gave me as children. Mean the world to me....

Carla said...

Those snowmen are absolutely delightful and very wise indeed. My new mantra...fear not, it's all good.