Driving into a small town called Caldwell, Texas I noticed a sign that said “Believe” and right next to it hanging from the awning “Miracles A Christmas Experience.” Curiosity had me, after all who doesn’t want to see a Miracle?
Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the most intricate sprawling Christmas miniatures villages I’ve ever seen, complete with ski slopes, barns, shops, children sleighing, a Ferris wheel and amazing details and lights. Standing in front of it just makes your inner child come out, exploring what is in every window, wondering how did they put it together and then the flow of memories of playing in the snow and experiences of Christmas just pour into your heart. There was also the most intricate miniature Nativity scene I have ever scene located next to it. I found myself standing there for a while, and turned to ask how all this came to be?
Emma (Hernández) Larch, born in Guadalajara, Mexico re-calls the story of how her family had a tradition of having the Nacimientos (Nativity) on Christmas when they were living in Mexico. Her mother would always have the Nativity set up and Larch describes her mom’s reasoning for the Nativity “no matter if we don’t have a tree or we’re not celebrating Christmas, a little doesn’t matter, big doesn’t matter, just put a nativity up” it was the family tradition on Christmas.
Larch was diagnosed with polio at a young age, and her family left Mexico and moved to Los Angeles to seek the best treatment for their daughter. She spent nine years in and out of the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles being treated for a disease that doctors continued to say would leave her unable to walk. Larch says, “I believe if you believe in something strong enough, you can make it happen.” Her belief in being able to beat polio and walk again gave her the strength to beat the odds.
Nativity pieces were harder to find as an adult in the United States and she wanted to continue the tradition on Christmas, so when she saw the little houses she translated a family tradition into the miniature villages and like her family, the Christmas village and tradition grew every year. This year Larch was sharing it with the town of Caldwell to raise money for a friend, Bonnie Loehr who was diagnosed with colon cancer.
Larch simply wanted to share the blessing if this amazing miniature village with the people of Caldwell to help a friend and now the town of Caldwell has asked her back to do it again next year. There are rumors of the town getting involved with events and even more lights in town square, to create a special Christmas for under privileged children.
As I was speaking with Emma Larch, I realized she was a “Walking Miracle” and right in front of my eyes she was acting in the Spirit of Christmas, sharing and helping a friend. Christmas after all, is about our Savior Jesus Christ; he told us the second greatest commandment was to “love your brother as yourself,” (Mark 12:31).
Merry Christmas to everyone!
GiGi Erneta is an actress and freelance writer.