(Made by the Children's Sunday school Class)
It’s been more than 20 years now, but I can still see the little girl that stood in awe before my collection of 300 nativities and scrutinized every piece. She was 5 at the time and I had to ask her mother about her story.
“She loves nativities” said the mother. “I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, and it was nativities….the same for her birthday, and Easter, and…”
“How many sets does she have?”, I asked wanting to know the depth of her love for nativities.
“She has 20” said mom, and then, while little Madalynn was out of earshot mom whispered, “25 – I got a her few more for Christmas.”
Well, that made my heart sing, and so I reached up to grab a small golden set I had brought home from a Friends of the Creche white elephant exchange, and said “Madelynn, would you like this nativity to add to your collection?”
Perhaps joy would be an understatement of her expression, it was more exaltation mixed with amazement and wonder. Of all the five-year-old collectors I’ve known, she was the most moved. (actually, she is the only five-year-old collector I’ve ever met.)
When the next year rolled around, a six-year-old Madalynn came up the steps to the sanctuary to see the collection one more time. She stood as she had the year before, silently scrutinizing each set and then said something unexpected, “That one is new…and so is that one.” She identified each addition to our collection without missing a single set.
Her mother, holding a bag, said to me, “Here, she wants you to have this one.” Inside the bag was a treasured set a five-year old would love. Of course, I was blown away and scanned my collection looking for something special. Honestly, I can’t recall the set I handed to her, but I can say this, it was unique and treasured, to be sure.
This exchange went on for the next three years until I moved to Oregon. I’ve never seen Madalynn again, but I did hear about her coming to the church the next year. She asked about me, and then told one of the members of the church that her father had purchased a donkey so she could host her own nativity show at her home. Oh, and her collection, at last count was 125!
I’ve since tried to track her down, but with no luck, but if you are ever at an exhibit where the collector’s name tag reads, “Madalynn,” tell her hello from me….oh, and do tell her I have a few new ones to show her.