Long, long ago, in a rather lanky house at the top of the hill, there lived a little girl who loved her mother’s Christmas creche, which lived on her mother’s bookcase every Christmas. It was not an expensive or magnificent creche. The little structure was covered with bits of bark and moss that tended to get dusty, and the little plaster figures were not elaborate. The little girl loved it because she was a girl who loved stories, and there was a story for this creche. It had been a gift to the little girl’s mother, from her older brother, one Christmas.
And so, the little girl grew up with the solemn idea that a creche ought really to be something a loved one gave to you, rather than something you buy in a store.
And one day, that little girl married a Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal fellow. They had a little girl of their own, and she was a little girl with clever hands and sharp eyes.
Years went by, and the little girl with clever hands and sharp eyes noticed that her mama mentioned the story of the gift creche, but never owned one. So one year, she and her Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal Daddy built a simple, spare, and just-right creche for the mama, and populated it with the same style of plaster figures the first little girl’s mother had been given, and gave it to her for Christmas, where it was given a place of honor as the focal point of the family’s Christmas celebrations.
The only thing that bothered the little girl with clever hands and sharp eyes was that the nativity figures did not look exactly like what she saw in her mind. But her clever hands were too young and unskilled to produce what she saw in her mind, and her sharp eyes needed to be even more sharp to do the work she wanted to do.
The little girl grew into a tall girl, and her hands became ever-more nimble, and her eyes ever-more sharp, and one year, she looked at her mother’s lovely creche, with the simple plaster figures that had never quite suited her, and decided to revisit the creche.
And so, she worked in odd moments, and hung a curtain across the doorway, and insisted everyone knock on the door lintel, so the creche might remain a Christmas secret.
A few days before Christmas, when this tall and lovely girl set about decking the cottage to celebrate, she quietly placed the re-painted creche in its place on the mantel, and waited.
It took her mother a few days to notice, but when she did, this is what she found:
And the mother was transported instantly back to the little given creche on her own mother’s bookshelf, and she was filled with happiness, for gifts that are given again and again in love are always the most happy gifts.