The manger was my mother’s. But I hadn’t thought about its history for a long, long time, because the figurines — Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus and the wise men and the sheep and the cow and the horse and the angels — are mine, bought over decades, all porcelain, all white, the small, wooden manger the sole thing that was hers.
It’s in the background of a picture I keep on my desk all year long. Funny how I didn’t notice this until the other day. The photo shows my mother, my mother’s mother, my newborn son, and me. It’s the only picture I have of us together, so I keep it close.