July 21st, 2018

Memorable nativity scene

By Medicine Hat News on December 26, 2017.

A Christmas tradition in the Chapman household, this nativity scene is more than 60 years old.

The News asked three prominent Hatters to share a favourite Christmas memory. Here is the submission from MHC dean of arts, education and business Dr. Terry Chapman. Others: MHPS Insp. Brent Secondiak and local artist Evelyn Kleis.

Building upon Rod Stewart’s old song “Every Picture Tells A Story,” my memories of Christmas past with my family are all here in this one picture.

The nativity scene is more than 60 years old and, as the story goes, long ago and far away one Christmas Eve in Toronto, my mom told my dad to take me out and not come back home until he had found a Baby Jesus.

And every Christmas since then, the nativity scene has been displayed prominently in whatever house we were in and serves as a reminder to me of the true story of the season.

The Charlie Brown Christmas tree represents a memory of all the trees, both real and artificial, that my mom and dad and I put up over the years with strings of lights, garland and a star on top. Each ornament represents the best of Christmas past. The little bear holding the three coloured balloons — that is the Chapman family, ‘the Three Musketeers’ — always together at Christmas no matter what. The ‘A and W bear proudly holding a tree serves as a memory of my dad (the engineer) trying to get the perfect tree for every holiday season. The skates are for my mom. She had me on skates and playing hockey when I was two so every Christmas Day the three of us went skating together after ‘the bird’ (my mom’s words) was put in the oven. The red ball serves as a memory of every ornament I broke over the years from the time I was five until the last year we were able to have Christmas as a family. And the football ornament is of Tom Brady from the New England Patriots, who was my dad’s favourite player. This ornament reminds me of all the football that I watched with my dad over the holiday season while my mom sat with us and knit a pair of socks for my dad as she hated football but it was time with Dad and I that mattered.

So, this one picture is not about one memory but a compilation of fond memories of 65 years of Christmas past. How fortunate I am!

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