For the past week I’ve walked by this Nativity scene, which is part of an elaborate tableau at a house in Durham’s Morehead Hill neighborhood. The sentimentalist in me was struck by the earnestness of the lights and decorations; the cynic in me found it surreal.

I had seen the Nativity only during the day. But on Christmas Eve night, I worked up the courage to ask the homeowner, whose name is Jane, if I could take a picture of her creation. She told me her husband is a landscaper; he built the word “L O V E” from sticks, and the doll is cradled in the divot of the V.

When the Nativity was initially built, the doll’s pelvic area was covered with a paper towel. Now it’s wearing an apron—and if you look closely, right below the speaker in the doll’s belly, you’ll see a bear on it.

Lisa Sorg is the editor of the INDY. Her blog documents the small moments of life in the Triangle in photographs and stories—as a reminder to why we live here.