My favorite Advent hymn is “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.” In our house we prepare for Christmas by setting out our Nativity scenes. Some don’t put the baby in the manger until Christmas Day. I put the baby Jesus out as we set up each Nativity so we know who we are expecting.

Our first Nativity was given to us by my mother. It was of olive wood from the Holy Land. Our sons could play with it without breakage. I would arrange the figures just so and come by in an hour and find everyone rearranged in a circle around Jesus. GI Joe and Star Wars action figures had joined the group. Every figure was focused on the babe in the manger.

Now I have some 50 Nativity scenes, if you count the ornaments, which I do. We have sets of stained glass, blackwork embroidery, wood—Nativities from India, Mexico, Vietnam, Peru, Ukraine. One Nativity has about 70 figures. The boys call that one “Who Else is Coming to See the Baby Jesus?” Our original Nativity has been passed on to our grandchildren.

As I settle each one in its place, I remember how our early Nativity was rearranged so that everyone looked to the babe who is, after all, the focus of Christmas.

“Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free; From our fears and sins release us; Let us find our rest in Thee.”

Winnie Walsh

About the Contributor

Winnie Walsh has served this church as a deacon and an elder. She wrote the church history for the sesquicentennial in 1993. She collects Christmas Nativities!