I bought the Nativity scene a long time ago. I believe it was around 1998. I was living in Ames, IA and was doing some after-Christmas shopping to get a few 75% off bargains. For anyone that is familiar with Ames, this was before the new Target open, it was a just a little hole-in-the-wall store over by JoAnn Fabrics. As I was scanning through the 75% off Christmas clearance, I saw this Nativity set. I had always wanted one but for one reason or another never bought one. But I wanted this one, it was really nice. I think it was around $3.00 for the whole set. The box was torn open, the figures were all over the place...and that's when I noticed one big problem. There was no baby Jesus in the set. Well what good is a Nativity without the baby Jesus?? I put it in my cart anyway and did more shopping, trying to decide what to do with it. Downtown Ames is full of little gift shops and I knew that several sold the figures separately, so I bought it! I finally had my Nativity, now I was on a mission to find a baby Jesus!
I can't remember if it was the same year or the next year when I brought my Nativity out for the first time, but I started shopping around for a baby Jesus for my Nativity. I swear that I looked in every little gift shop in town. They were all either too big or too small to fit my set. It would look akward having a 2-ft tall Mary along side a 2-ft tall baby Jesus!
I worked at Kmart at the time, as I did for the whole time I lived in Ames. I rememeber everything about this day perfectly, except the actual date. I believe it was around Christmas time the year after I bought my set. I was pushing a flat-bed cart back to our stockroom in the back of the store. I was walking by the shoe department and remember watching a little girl playing with the snowboots while her mom was shopping. She looked at me and we both smiled at eachother. And as my cart was passing right by the snow boots, a children's snowboot fell off of the shelf and right in front of my cart. I noticed something fell out of the boot, but at the time assumed it was just the paper stuffing that comes with new shoes. I backed up my cart, picked up the boot, and I could hardly believe what I saw.
A tiny baby Jesus figure.
I stood there, with it in my hands, staring at it for a few seconds before asking the little girl if it was hers. I just assumed she was playing with it. She said "no" and ran to her mom. At this point, I know I was still in shock. I ran the cart back to the stock room as fast as I could and then hurried over to our Christmas department. Surely the baby Jesus was part of a set that we sold at the time. Nope. He was the perfect size, the perfect color. He was plastic, where the rest of my Nativity was ceramic...but he was still perfect.
To this day, I have no idea how that baby Jesus ended up in a boot at Kmart, and what made it fall off the shelf at the exact time I was walking by. Like I said, I still get goosebumps talking about this and sometimes I think that it's just a story that I made up. But I have my Nativity and I have that little baby Jesus, and it's not just a story. Here are are the pictures of it:
I hope everyone reading this made it through the whole story. And for those that have heard it before, I apologize for repeating it.