Painted Rocks by Cindy Thomas

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unique nativity sets and nativity scene figures hand-painted on Colorado river rocks and stones

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Nativity Figurines - Heralds of Peace Throughout the Earth

By Bettye Wade

We may not even be consciously aware of them, The Nativity Figurines, sets that are part of nearly all Christmas decorations. Outdoors in particular, our attention may be fixed on the lights or the Santas or the animal figures. Indoors there is the tree and the presents and the food or other festivities. Yet the nativities are there and we are almost subliminally reminded of what they mean to us-the reason for all the rest. The Event. The Babe is there, sleeping blissfully as the mother, in robe and hood, watches over Him. The father, too, bearded and sandal-clad. Perhaps the shepherds who came next to the scene, and the three wise men with the camels that brought them from afar.

The Nativity figures are all a little different, of course, asPolish Nativity Scene we are all different, yet they are true to the traditions of our culture. These figures all look somewhat like we look. That comforts us. It feels right. It is fitting. It is fitting , too, that all around the world the Nativity figures are all vastly different from ours as they draw from their own culture and traditions. In Russia, for example, the nativity figures may be hand painted in vividly colored old world costumes from the last century and shown against a snowy background. In Poland, one set was cut out of very brightly colored sheets of heavy foil.

In undeveloped countries Nativity sets must be made from whatever materials are available to them. In Kenya they are sometimes fashioned from the dried fibers of the banana plant. In Haiti one creche is made from a carved coconut with a peaked roof. Around it are tiny little figures with very dark faces who have two round white dots for eyes. In the Philippines little sand bags sewn from brightly colored cloth have painted heads.

The styles are as diverse as their countries, and as much a blessing to the people in each country. Like ours, their Nativity sets remind the people of the Event that is depicted. We look and remember the love that the Babe's birth represents. So do the people in many other countries. Their response is like ours. Our hope is renewed, our hearts are warmed, and our spirits are lifted. Theirs are too. Somehow we are united in the love engendered by this Event. For the moments, hours, days-or more, we are one in our spirits. That feels right. It is fitting. And we are grateful.

Bettye Wade is a collector as well and is excited to be associated with Susan's Collectable Figurines. Working with such beautiful art objects is satisfying on many levels.

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