The seminary put out its first Nativity scene in 2007 with the stable built by Dale and carried/hauled in sections to the front corner of the chapel. There had been some discussion as to the lack of Christmas lights/displays on campus other than wreaths so this Nativity was the catalyist for yearly additions to commemorate the season. The first order of business was to get Nativity figures and Dale called Wally Bronner of Bronner's Christmas Land in Frankenmuth Michigan to get an idea of what was available and the cost. Wally, a lifelong Missouri Synod Lutheran donated the set to the seminary and it arrived on November 17th, exactly five years ago today.
And thus was the first manger scene at Concordia Seminary.
Things went along fine each year after that, the manger would be broken down in January, stored in our back yard and the figures went into the seminary power house. Then in 2010 things were different. Our grandsons were in town for Thanksgiving and helped us set the Nativity up.
The baby Jesus is the most revered, even by the young who are normally drawn to the animals.
Then something happened which we should have expected but did not. The baby Jesus was stolen. Not just taken and returned, but stolen.
This event was tramatic to everyone on campus and each day someone would ask if the baby Jesus had been found or returned. Many of us hoped that it had been taken by someone who was going to put it back in place on Christmas Eve. Many of us took the time to check first thing Christmas morning. But no. At one point the empty space was so hard on the campus children that one of our students children brought one of their dolls wrapped in a blanket and set it in place. Ironically, the Eden family is now in Frankenmuth Michigan where Joel is doing his vicarage.
In 2011 we purchased a new baby Jesus and fixed it to the ground in such a way that it could not be removed. Also, think gps.
2010 was also the year we got the first 3 pieces of an indoor Nativity set from Bronner's. They have been placed in the chapel and each year new pieces are added. For additional pieces arrived last Thursday.
Dale finished constructing the new stable yesterday and the finished product includes wheels so that it can be moved by hitching it to the back of a Gator, or in this case, the Kuboda. Of course nothing goes perfectly, he realized he needed an actual hitch so had to go over to Rural King and get one. Then it turned out that the holes in the Kuboda and the holes in the hitch did not match up so he ended up rigging things in a way that he hoped would work.