How hard can it be to find a handmade, fair-trade, biblically-accurate, ethnically-realistic, reasonably-priced, child-safe nativity scene?
by Rachel Held Evans
“It’s been 10 years,” I say from across the dining room table. “This is the year. Let’s just get the first one that appeals to both of us and be done with it.”
The room falls silent save the tap-tap-tapping of our fingers on our keyboards.
“Here we go,” Dan says after a few minutes. “This one is porcelain. It has 15 pieces. Kinda looks like the one I had growing up, and it’s got a detachable baby Jesus, which you know I prefer.”
He turns his laptop around so I can see.
“No. I refuse to have a blonde Mary in my home. That’s non-negotiable. Also, let’s start with fair trade options.”
“Oh look at this adorable Peruvian one from Ten Thousand Villages!” I coo. “They’re wearing traditional Quechua garb!”
“You realize a Peruvian Mary is just as unrealistic as a blonde Mary right?”
“…Or we could make a statement with this one that depicts Mary and Joseph as immigrants arriving on a bus. I love that.”
“You’re kidding right?”
“You know,” I finally say. “We should get something that’s appropriate and fun for kids. It probably won’t be just the two of us for much longer. We need to think ahead.”
This changes everything for Dan who immediately begins assessing every nativity scene based on potential choking hazards. Suddenly a detachable Jesus seems like a Very Bad Idea.
“Look at this one,” he finally says triumphantly. “Each piece is nearly a foot tall and BRONZE. Now, BRONZE is a sturdy material. No one’s going to choke on or break that!”
I look out of morbid curiosity more than anything else.
“Um, it doesn’t have any shepherds, only wise men, AND THE WISE MEN WERE NOT EVEN THERE! Why can’t anyone get that right? Does anyone even READ the Bible anymore?”
“Bronze is a very sturdy material,” Dan says. “It would be a legacy piece.”
“Well I saw one that came with actual gold, frankincense, and myrrh that was $1500.”
“Lord have mercy. Jesus would roll over in his grave…not that he’s actually in his grave. What? It’s a figure of speech.”
“This one’s hand-carved from olive wood in Bethlehem.”
“This one comes with 25 pieces.”
“This one comes with a battery-lit star.”
“Well, we’ve got that gift card for Hobby Lobby,” I say. “Maybe we should take a look there. I’m sure they have lots of them.”
“Aren’t you, like, against Hobby Lobby?”
“No, I’m not against Hobby Lobby. I’m for affordable birth control…I just need to find a ‘This-is-What-a-Feminist Looks-Like’ t-shirt to wear before we go. To make a statement. Oh, and we gotta figure out what time to go to avoid all those consumeristic Christians crowding the stores.
“We’re never going to get a nativity scene are we?”
Y’all know I don’t believe in the war on Christmas.
But I’m beginning to suspect there’s a war on handmade, fair-trade, biblically-accurate, ethnically-realistic, reasonably-priced, child-safe nativity scenes.
Help me out here.
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