My nativity scenes collection came about as a way to focus more on the essential purpose of the Christmas holiday. People often say that Christmas is no longer worth celebrating because, "Christmas has gotten too commercialized."
Not at all willing to give up on the most wonderful time of the year, I thought, why not do something about this overbearing commercialization? It always takes someone deciding and doing to make any changes, be they small or great.
So my goal became doing whatever was in my sphere to keep Christ in Christmas. One way to accomplish this was by presenting visuals of the story of Christ’s birth, to counteract all the secular images so prevalent at holiday time.
With this new blog I hope to extend the scope of my sharing these varied depictions of the nativity of Jesus Christ Our Lord.
I received the first item in the collection in about 1979 as a gift from a co-worker. The gift was a tree ornament in clear acrylic with a depiction of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. It was not until 1991 that I bought my first two nativity scenes, one in ceramic and another in pewterplate. I then decided to form a small collection in various materials – wood, glass,plastic, and so forth.
So the collection grew and grew. At Christmas time I displayed them in each room of my house. I also exhibited them in the college library each year, and at a gallery in Worcester, MA, where I also gave a 40-minute lecture on the nativity in December 2000. In subsequent years I loaned sets for display in the gallery. Then, because of all the work of packing up, setting up and taking down, I decided to set up a mini museum right at home.
This major change came about in about October 2005 as I decided to empty the approximately 12’x15’ den and make it into a ‘gallery’ for my nativity collection. No longer were the nativities spread all over the house; instead, the major portion was consigned to the new Gallery.
To make the gallery displays, I gathered together a plethora of tables, stands and bookcases I had gotten at consignment shops, thrift and junk stores. To give the room some harmony, I rummaged around my house and found all the green or red fabrics, place mats, tablecloths, and even tissue paper, to provide a background for the various items. My aim was to avoid spending extra money on installation apparatus. I just made use of what I could find around the house and in the garage.
The next post will introduce the arrangement of the gallery room.