I am a Quaker, a member of Wrightstown Monthly Meeting. Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, I was on the Religious Education Committee. We were asked to provide a Christmas program for the children to present to the Meeting.
We decided to try and create a live crèche on the grounds of the Meeting House. On the Meeting grounds there was a very old carriage shed. It was over 200 years old and would provide an ideal setting for a crèche.
We asked Jim, a dairy farmer and an active member of the Bucks County 4-H Club, if he could provide animals for the scene. He said “yes,” and delivered five or six cows, several sheep, and bales of straw. Another member had two donkeys as pets and one of them, Meredith, was eager to participate.
We had plenty of volunteers from the Sunday School. They were to be angels and shepherds. A member, Ivins, who owned an authentic shepherd’s cloak from the Holy Land, was eager for the chance to wear it.
One of our teenagers was chosen to be Mary, and Paul was chosen to be Joseph because he had a wonderful black beard. Three of our older members were naturally to be the Wise Men. The baby Jesus would be a doll.
We had a rustic-looking manger that someone had previously made and angel and shepherd costumes. I made costumes for the Wise Men and Taylor, an artist, made crowns for the Wise Men. Members gathered in the Meeting House and came out at a prearranged time. We sang carols and the Christmas Story was read by Eric, an Englishman from Oxford, England. He spoke the English language perfectly and eloquently.
It was a success, and we repeated it for several years. One time there was a snow shower as we sang. Another year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the lovely carol, Silent Night. We asked Don to play it on his guitar as we read that it was first played this way.
A lovely white dove was added one year to the crèche. She sat contentedly in her cage next to an angel in the rafters. After we sang carols and listened to the reading of the Christmas Story, we returned to the Meeting House to attend the Meeting for worship.
Everyone enjoyed this occasion very much and it was on its way to becoming a tradition when tragedy struck and brought it to an end. On a very windy Memorial Day, the shed burned down mysteriously. All the old nails were collected, and Jack welded groups of four together to make “W’s” (for “Wrightstown”) to keep as mementos. I have one hanging on my wall and I cherish it very much.
— Jean R. LaRue