*The excuse for my long absence is one word: LIFE. You know what I mean, so you'll forgive me, I am sure. But this morning I am inspired.
Slipping a basket over her arm, Priscilla made her way to Bethlehem's market. It was crowded with travelers in town for the census, soldiers and merchants. Sorting through a bin of onions, she noticed a young woman next to her examining the quality of some lentils.
"I see you are to be a mother too", observed Priscilla. The young woman--more of a girl, really--saw the sash of Priscilla's garment tied high; recognition crossed her face. "It is my first", she said shyly. Her accent was a northern one.
We have been collecting Fontanini nativity scene pieces for a few years now and only this year did we discover the package inserts. Each figure comes with a story. Even todays figure, named simply OX.
The human figures all have names as well as stories. Some encounter Jesus in the stable, some encounter Mary in the market square (like Priscilla's story above), some encounter the Angels in the fields.
This year we planned to open each piece one at a time, leaving Mary and Joseph till the last week of Advent. But we didn't expect to add to our traditions the thoroughly enjoyable reading of their stories. Sadly we are done with the all the non-Holy Family statues (except the three kings), but we will definitely do this again next year.