My Mimi, as the grandchildren call her, made four 15-piece nativity sets throughout the late 1980s. She and her friend Alice made the nativity sets in her craft barn, working all day every Thursday for years. Together they purchased the molds, poured a clay mixture into them, fired them in the kiln, and then hand-painted each ceramic piece. Each nativity took a year to complete.
Of the four nativity sets Mimi made, she gave two for churches to sell in support of their charities and work with the poor, one to my Aunt Nikki, and one to my mom. She never made one for herself.
After my mom died from breast cancer at 45 in 2004, her nativity set sat in storage until I graduated from high school and my dad and stepmother moved to Oxford, Mississippi. The nativity set then got passed down to me. I do not have room to display it in my home, so I decided to display it in my office at The Upper Room. I leave it on display year-round for several reasons: I like to be reminded of that special scene, even outside of Advent; it makes for beautiful office décor; and it reminds me of my sweet Mimi, who is near and dear to my heart.
My Mimi is now 86 years old and is an active member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Poplarville, Mississippi
. She hasn’t done ceramics much since Alice died, because working with her friend was at least half the fun; but she says knowing that I cherish my nativity brings her great joy and makes the work well worth it.
Nativity in Sean’s office, completed in 1986 by Lou Stasny.
This Advent, share your favorite nativity scene on social media using the hashtag #MyLivingNativity
Sean Stasny is Web Developer at The Upper Room.
"God comes to the woman who feels in exile in her own marriage. To the man who grieves the loss of life dreams. To the child who lives on the street. To the parents who struggle to feed and clothe their children. To the one whose loneliness or depression intensifies every Christmas." Click to watch video.