January 9, 2021

A Completely Different Christmas Nativity Scene …

from Sister M. Gisela Noky

Christmas 2020 in Kalingrad

We Germans have, so I believe, a very special relationship with the Christmas season and the building of Christmas nativity sets. Formerly I thought every family has a nativity set, but that is far from being the case. Not every child can fall in love and become engrossed in the wonder world of the Christmas story. I could: a majestic Christmas tree, the entire dresser a path to the manger, shepherds with a campfire, a shining manger stable, and in this world Jesus was born. In the midst of our living room he came into the world.

There lies the beginning of my great love for the Christmas nativity scene

and of telling everyone about the love of God and how he can transform our world.
In Russia there is no tradition of building a Christmas nativity scene. The priests and sisters working here brought nativity sets with them from their home countries. The nativity scene in our parish grew and changed from year to year. It tells the story of the redemption of the entire world.
Many helpers were involved in the construction each year, and every little detail told of the great love of God.

But how will it be this year?

Due to the pandemic we must practice social distancing. The helpers are not allowed to come to the Center. How is that supposed to work? Then an idea came to us.
Years ago the Maltese brought nativity figures to another little community in the Kaliningrad region. The figurines are beautifully carved wooden figurines for dressing. Unfortunately the shepherds were missing.
I asked repeatedly how they built the nativity set with the figures. Unfortunately those responsible were unhappy with these figurines: too much work and bother…After many years I dared now to propose an exchange. Now the Christmas figurines are with us in our community.

Foto-Album click here

Already in June, with two women we washed and ironed all the clothing and

made Maria, Josef, the Three Kings, and the Christ  Child more beautiful.

This all happened in our big parish hall which was not being used at this time due to the pandemic. But these figurines alone did tell enough of the great miracle of the Holy Night. For a long time I thought about how the nativity set could become even livelier.
A young couple told me about the renovation of an old German house near here and that the couple wanted to remove the old beams.  I asked for them and knew: this would be the stable.
I got myself some plywood and with the help of an old daylight projector we, my two helpers and I, painted various figurines on it. With an electric leaf saw I sawed out everything and then continued. In the rooms for humanitarian aid there were still some old winter coats that nobody wanted. These were ideal for our sheep, the donkey, camels, and the elephant!

So everything became ever livelier and began to make the Christmas story vivid.

I painted the figurines, clothed them, and a young student gave them their face. That was our new nativity set, the Christmas nativity scene in the pandemic!
We bought hay for the Christmas fair, but since it was canceled, these simple hay bales provided a good base for the new nativity set. During the coronavirus period—without help: In the Christmas nativity scene simple, plywood figurines were joined with beautifully decorated, carved figurines. They all come to pay homage to the divine Child! They are the image of us, rich or poor, old or young—we are all equal before HIM and HE loves us as we are.

We also want to show this love to the people in a very concrete and practical way

We have much to do despite the pandemic . Sister M. Angele Dubau packed many food packages for the needy: for the homeless and for visitors to our soup kitchen who received a warm meal, but currently have to eat outside. A small dead of love.

Just so we don’t forget to love HIM!

He also accompanies us every day of the New Year 2021.