One thing that I really love about volunteering as a hostess at the Montgomery INTERFAITH Nativity Exhibit is meeting the people who attend the event. It always is fun to watch those who hunt for the Nativity set they freely share with the community. And it is especially fun to ask them to tell their story about their Nativity set. The stories are as varied as the sets on display. Some are whimsical, some surprising, charming, delightful, and some are deeply moving and sentimentally wonderful.
Let us begin with the ceramic piece that is about 30 years old. Two daughters came with a friend and shared how their mother used to do ceramics on the table at their house. They spoke so tenderly on how this particular piece was loving made by their mother. They giggled recalling how their father could not stand the dinner table being covered with mother’s crafts and how they eventually would take things to the shop where mother would finish an item.
The woman who owns the painted Nativity wall hanging was with the aforementioned sisters. She is the Godmother to one of the sister’s daughter. You should have seen the pride and joy on her face as she lovingly spoke of that daughter’s Nativity gift to her.
Carved by a rice farmer in Laos, the man made several Nativity Sets and sold them to many Americans he knew through a church connection. He used the money to help pay for his children’s education.
The woman who owns the lovely snow globe got it from Cracker Barrell for nine dollars about eight or nine years ago. Nine dollars! A battery in the base provides the energy needed to move the snow around in the globe! How cool is that! Elegant, inexpensive and practical so those little hands in her home do not have to shake it to see it snow.
Some of my favorite conversations come from sharing these stories with others at the exhibit. Their reactions to these stories are priceless. It is as though I can see the lightbulb pop up over their heads, and see the wheels spinning in their heads. Sometimes they share a creative thought, or they get excited to seek out Nativity sets in places they never thought of before. But my favorite responses are always those jogged memories that lead to visitors sharing a personal history story.
Personal history stories are a great way to #LightTheWorld. And it easily begins with simple things like a babe, laying in a manger in a Nativity exhibit.