In some ways, this piece that I am sharing is, to me, a bit symbolic of the hope of Christmas and a season of perseverance. This particular piece is called, Follow Me to Bethlehem, and is available through Bits and Pieces by Joan. I purchased this piece at least three years ago, possibly longer, eager to add a nativity banner to my Christmas collection. Even though I've completed a number of wool pieces through the years, this is one that had a journey of its own. It also involved some additional steps before proceeding to stitching the individual appliqué pieces in place.
As you can see, the individual pieces are stitched on top of a quilted background. This meant that the first step was getting some backing fabric to go with the flannel background and having it quilted. The next step was cutting the quilted piece to the appropriate dimensions and stitching the binding in place. I then elected to fuse and stitch the stable and palm tree pieces before proceeding to the people and the animals. With the multiple tiny pieces for the hands and faces and then trying to determine which colors in the kit to use for which individual, I let myself get a bit overwhelmed at this stage in the process and turned my attention to other projects. Later this summer, I managed to push through to get all of the figures cut and fused. The project then sat for a few more months until I found myself at a spot in which I couldn't avoid settling down to finish this project any longer. As I set small goals and persisted, I found that I was actually looking forward to spending time on the project. Sooner than expected, I was at a point where I could see that I would actually finish it.
I anticipate that, for many of us, 2020 has been fraught with both seen and unseen challenges. For me, this piece reflecting the story of Christmas, will serve as a tangible reminder of persisting one step at a time, even when it would have been easier to avoid the situation and even during stretches of frustration and inertia.
My Scripture reading this morning was from the Old Testament book of Micah. Many of us are familiar with Micah 5:2 which tells that the Savior will be born in Bethlehem. This morning, I was particularly struck by the promise and hope in Micah 5:4. A very Merry Christmas to all!
And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. Micah 5:4