Confession: I was going to entitle this post “Our Favorite Nativities,” but realized just in time I’ve never met a nativity that wasn’t my favorite.
One of my goals at Christmastime is to put Baby Jesus into my children’s hands in as many ways as I can. Over the years he has played hide-and-seek with them, been lost (for real) and found again, hung upside down, unwrapped, re-wrapped, broken, freshly washed, fed, burped, snuggled, taken to bed, toted about the house, and I don’t know what all. He has laid down his sweet head on cheap golden tinsel, hillside weeds that looked like straw (ish), various sorts of sticky evergreen, dried lemongrass, and dust bunnies, depending on my decorative preferences of the year. He’s developed amazing resilience, and smiles joyfully through it all.
We love this Baby.
Here’s a peek at our favorites likenesses of him around our house.
1. A traditional nativity scene in porcelain is the first one I bought for our home when my boys were babies – fifteen dollars at Walmart, and chosen because we loved the jewels. Baby Jesus’ head broke off the first day we owned him, causing great distress to us (not him). After the re-gluing, the rule on this scene was “eyes only” for many years, but we have relaxed that policy as our more destructive children matured out of their toddler years. Joseph can no longer hold his staff because his fingers are MIA, and the wise men keep sneaking into the stable even though I tell them it’s not time yet.
2. A doll Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes, with a knotted fleece cap, is always the favorite of my youngest child. He rests in a manger that my husband and firstborn son made a long time ago, and this year he sleeps on soft golden tinsel. (The lemongrass was a messy disaster.) This Baby is an inexpensive five-dollar doll, but the joy he has brought to our toddlers is priceless. He’s the most life-like of our nativities.
3. Also child-friendly is this painted wooden collection, handmade by someone Amish or crafty; I forget. My aunt Rhonda gave it to our children several years ago. I love the whimsical lines, hand-drawn in permanent marker, and how homey (almost homely) the whole set is.
4. In contrast, these golden miniatures have stunning detail – but they are tiny! For perspective, look at the little twinkle light on the left of the picture. Kelly and I found this gem for a quarter at a garage sale in this summer, a new set for our family.
5. I told you one of our Advent activities was making nativity scenes from unusual materials, right? The next three sets are our handiwork. Regan made this set from marshmallows and pieces of felt. I think it’s so darling.
6. Aarick and Kelly worked together to make a sweet Popsicle stick and fabric arrangement. Aarick made the stable; Kelly made the people.
7. I went for abstract, with packing material and yarn.
8. But my very favorite is the last one: My mom and sister scoured Jerusalem this December to find me a nativity hand-carved from olive wood. There are wise men and a camel, a shepherd and his sheep, the Family, and a wonderful stable with a star and a palm tree. I am in love!
Baby Jesus rests in a heart-shaped manger, and my goodness, he is sweet!
Which of the sets is your favorite?
Have you made your own nativity scene?
How do you put Him in your children’s hands?