Silvanus, Knife Sharpener
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Silvanus, Knife Sharpener

Silvanus, Knife Sharpener

Silvanus, Knife Sharpener
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5" Scale Fontanini Nativity Village Figure

The accompanying Story Card reads:

Silvanus was Bethlehem’s knife sharpener. He was very skilled and worked with his brother Orion the Blacksmith. In ancient Israel, metal-work allowed the cutting of stone, better farming, stronger weapons, and more durable utensils and tools. Since metal objects were expensive and treasured, owners would take special care to ensure they would last as long as possible.

Knives were created for specific purposes and Silvanus could readily tell the owner merely by looking at the blade. Servants from the temple brought the ceremonial knives used for circumcision and animal sacrifice. Large knives for slaughtering and cutting up food were common among families who would serve fatted calves to guests. Scribes brought small knives used for sharpening pens. Vineyard owners brought curved blades used to manage vines and to harvest their fruit. Farmers also brought coulters -- the cutting blades fixed in front of plowshares. He knew them all and to whom each belonged. Depending on the tool and its use Silvanus would use different methods to sharpen them. Some blades needed to be as sharp as possible; others just sharp enough to serve their purpose. With stones and files, Silvanus would reshape the blade restoring the edge that had been lost with time.

One day, a servant brought to Silvanus a knife unlike any Silvanus had ever seen. It was similar in size to common table knives but there the similarities ended. This knife had a golden handle brilliantly encrusted with gems. The servant explained that the knife belonged to his master. They were on a journey following a star and seeking to pay homage to a Newborn King. Their party had an audience with Herod and they were now on their way to Bethlehem. Silvanus could not believe his eyes or his ears. The knife was truly exceptional and it could easily be a king’s treasure; but the rest of the story seemed just too impossible to be true. Putting the story out of his mind, Silvanus knew he could restore the knife to its sharpness and he immediately went to work. Before long his work was completed and he returned the knife to the servant. The servant paid him handsomely and then went on his way.

As night fell, Silvanus looked at the stars and saw one he had never seen before. Later, shepherds came by the shop on their way to Bethlehem. They told Silvanus of angels and a heavenly choir. The knife he had held, the Star he had seen, and the stories he had herd were far too much to be dismissed and Silvanus knew he too must go with the shepherds to Bethlehem. When they reached the stable, Silvanus found not one but three kings presenting the child with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gleaming from the eldest King’s belt, Silvanus could see the knife that he himself had sharpened. And in that moment, Silvanus knew that all he had heard was indeed true.


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