Sometimes I find it humorous how uncreative I am when I am surrounded by so many that are–especially in my own family! We all know that my husband, the infamous Mr. Fancy Pants, is talented beyond words. However, the person I’ll be sharing with you today is my paternal grandfather, James Bernard Sarrett. He is a carpenter. All my life I’ve watched the things that he’s made come out of his shop, that he also built, behind their home in Camden, AR. Composed of three buildings that overlook what used to be a massive vegetable garden (still a garden just much smaller) sits we affectionately call J.B.’s Ranchstyle. I am thoroughly convinced that my Papa can make anything. Case in point. Early last summer I told him that I wanted him to make me a rocking chair. He gave me his classic J.B. grunt, which for the life of me I wish could be expressed in words because it’s one of the funniest and most wonderful things about him. He’d never made a rocking chair and didn’t think he’d be able to do it. “Sally baby, I’m just not real sure about all that. I wouldn’t even know where to start.” He wouldn’t know where to start my foot. About a month later he’d completed 5 rocking chairs in 3 different sizes. One of which proudly sits in 601 Nelray Blvd. for Mr. Fancy Pants and I to enjoy everyday. I’m telling you, this man is so talented.
Introductions out of the way, I can tell you that one of the things that fascinates me the most about him is his ability to create. Granted, I gave him a picture of the rocking chair that I liked for him to go by when he made mine, but this nativity scene is my favorite thing that’s ever come out of J.B.’s Ranchstyle. I’m not even sure when he started making them but I remember having one when I was little so it had to have been 20+ years ago. I told him forever ago that when I had my first home I wanted one of my own and he came through for me yet again.
Last Christmas at my ‘Christmas wedding shower’ my Papa gave me this beautiful nativity scene that is also a puzzle. I love it so much. Not only do I think it’s beautiful but it’s things like this that take my imagination captive. I’ve never been one for deep symbolism but how appropriate for a scene depicting the birth of Christ be as simple, natural, honest, and beautiful as my Papa’s creation? I’ve always said I’ve never met a man more Christlike than him and that image of him started at a really young age for me. Long before any confusion, doubt, trials, stumbles, successes, etc. ever were a factor in my spiritual life, Christianity was the simple belief in the Son of God. A man who, the Bible tells us, was a carpenter, much like my grandfather. In my child’s mind it made the two men even more alike. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Christianity has changed from the time I was 5 until now, I just think it’s easier for us to see the purity in something like the birth, life, and death of Christ with blind faith and without a need for reason before life and ourselves get in the way.
I figure I am going to spend my entire Christmas holiday picking up this nativity because Mr. Fancy Pants and my cat, Avey, is going to knock it over approximately 500 times…a week. But I think it’s all worth it. I think it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the holidays and forget why we’re having them in the first place. I know I cannot speak for everyone, but for Mr. Fancy Pants and I it’s a time to celebrate the meaning of our faith and spend time with those that we love the most. It’s amazing how something as simplistic as a wooden manger scene can remind me of that fact when so often I lose sight of what’s really important. I hope you all have something meaningful that reminds you of your reason for celebrating this Christmas–put it in a special place that you’ll walk by everyday, I have, so that it’ll be a constant reminder.