Twenty six years ago I spent my first Christmas on Martha's Vineyard with my five children. It was a very difficult time for all of us, since I had just left a long-term marriage, totally disrupting all of our lives. I knew it was the best thing to do, but because of everyone's sadness, at times I would have second thoughts that I did the right thing. Now thinking back, even though I had years of struggling, in every way it was the right thing to do for me and my family.
I had to start all over and that included buying Christmas decorations for the tree. My finances were pretty bleak, but kids are always up for making paper chains out of colored paper and glue, and popcorn and cranberry garlands, both of which helped to make the tree look festive. I had enough money to buy some lights and balls for the tree, but what I really wanted was a manager - which was definitely not in my budget. But having a manager was very important to me, since the birth of Christ is what makes Christmas ..Christmas after all.
A few days before December 25, as I was walking by the Thrift Shop on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, I noticed displayed in the window, very simple terra-cotta figures of Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, the 3 Wise Men, an angel, and 2 animals. I went into the store to ask the price, thinking to myself that I probably couldn't afford them. The woman said that the figures cost twenty dollars - I almost fell on the floor in disbelief. It was like a Christmas miracle; I found the manager that I wanted with all my heart, and I could afford it , as well.
Up to that time I had been struggling financially and emotionally, but finding that manager that day, showed me that wishes can come true. But we must believe and have faith that anything is possible and never give up hope no matter what.
To this very day, 26 years later, I still display these simple figures every Christmas season, and for me and my wonderful family they symbolize the true meaning of Christmas.