The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6

It’s happened before. I get over-confident. I regularly bite off more than I can chew. Or in this case, I bought more than I could ever stitch.

I collect nativities or crèche scenes and love the variety of materials. They are made of stained glass, carved wood, stitched silk, cookie dough, the finest plastic!

In 2005 I fell in love with a nativity in needlepoint. There were 11 figures in the set, but I bought only 10. I didn’t like the expression of the blond angel. Did I mention each figure had a front AND a back that required meticulous stitching on 18-count canvas?

I started stitching with great enthusiasm. Then I switched to another figure with equal enthusiasm. I had to see how my thread selections looked. Eventually, every figure had a little bit of my stitching on it. My enthusiasm waned, I’ll admit. My enthusiasm plummeted as my hand tremor from Parkinson’s Disease worsened. My nativity was in serious jeopardy of never being completed after 12 years of work.

And that’s when I received a gift of such love and devotion and friendship that I can hardly write about it. My dear friend Libba Hammond, an excellent needlepointer, asked if she could work on this enormous project to help me. She spent hundreds of hours finishing most of the figures in a few short months. I can never thank her adequately. Libba shrugs off any thanks and says it was an honor to work on the crèche and to help me.

This Christmas, finally, I will display this incredible needlepoint crèche. Mary, dressed in blue and white, gently cradles the Babe in her arms. Joseph stands by her with his lantern. The angel is resplendent in shades of crimson. The kings are garbed in glittering burgundy, royal purple and light beige. The shepherds wear simple clothing. The oxen and the donkeys sport blankets with details in metallic threads.

This Nativity is the embodiment of the love of God shown through humankind. Libba gave of herself. There is no better gift.

Prayer: Thank you, dear God, for the gifts given from the heart.

Winnie Walsh

About the Contributor

Winnie Walsh is an elder at First Presbyterian and loves her collection of nativities.