Nativity Sets let my children touch Jesus




There are seasons when the decorating and the shopping, the planning and parties all upstage the Christ child of Christmas.  And it could have happened here this year, had my children not reminded me on the very first Sunday of Advent.  I awoke to the soft sound of whispers, the songs of little people and their laughter.  Coming from my bedroom I found them there beneath the tree, setting up our nativity sets. All of them.


My mother had an elegant nativity when I was young, it was pure white, with many large ceramic pieces. She set it out in groups around our living room. The manger with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, a donkey and a cow, there upon the fireplace mantel. Then on the bookshelf nearby were the shepherds and their sheep. On the coffee table, looking up, were the wise men with their camels. Green pine branches and tall red candles completed each scene.


nativity: noun, the process of being born


How right and good to refer to the story of Jesus’ birth as “The Nativity.”  The birth.  Because through his coming, this one birth, we all have access to a Spiritual rebirth.  Salvation.  The process of being born… again.  And I love that it’s a noun; the decoration on your mantelpiece and the history-splitting, redemptive moment a Savior came to earth.


In our home we have multiple Nativities. One made from the wood of an olive tree grown and carved in Jerusalem.  Then there’s my childhood Precious Moments set.  A small, hand painted Mary and Child, given to my by my Sister-in-law.  And the well-worn Little People set my children have loved and touched every year of their lives.  Each Nativity set is held and carried like a Holy plaything, then reconfigured in another corner of our home each day.  Little hands touching and knowing Jesus.


It is good it is to let our children touch each piece and set them up again and again.  It was hard for me at first, giving them ownership of my cherished, breakable Nativities (wanting to limit my children to their Little plastic People) but then I realized that there’s nothing I want more for my children than for them to take ownership of their relationship with my Jesus.  To make Him their own.  And to be His.


christmas pic


So I’ve stopped the stopping and started celebrating each time they touch His manger and the star.  Praying, always praying, that Jesus would touch them right back.


 nativity: noun, the process of being born



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  1. One of my cherished Christmas memories is of my little ones cradling baby Jesus and singing him a lullaby. They tucked him back into the manger and kissed him good night.

  2. Oh I LOVE this… My Girlie, when she was little, used to always play act out the story of Christmas with our breakable Nativity set… I would cringe a bit, but most of them are still in one piece* and oh the memories… and how that playing helped sow the story down deep in her heart! She also used to LOVE to steal baby Jesus and hid him. Yeah, she thought she was hilarious!

    * Please tell me you saw Lisa-Jo Bakers photo on facebook this morning, with her duct-taped Nativity! For the love…

    • Love this. And No! But I’ll go track it down. Christmas blessings back upon you and yours.

  3. Such wisdom in letting the children touch Jesus during this Advent season. And, after all, Elmer’s glue is always at the ready!

  4. sometimes we seem to get caught up in the things of Christmas instead of the moments being made. We just started decorating, but I’m hoping I can let my son be a part of the decorating without worrying what will get messed up. Great story.

    • I was really protective of how the tree looked for the longest time… I really like things lovely. But I’m slowly loosening up! Let them hang all the handcrafted ornaments!

  5. This is beautiful! We only had one nativity set until our girls were teenagers and I worked in a Christian book store and bought a new one (wooden) at an after Christmas sale. A friend of mine collects nativity sets, and he displays them in the library at the school where he works each Christmas–what an act of faith to let people wander in a wonder in awe at the beautiful artwork!

    • I really love the beautifully artistic ones too. There’s an artist who does just marvelous intricate work. Maybe when the littles are big!

  6. “I’ve stopped the stopping and started celebrating each time they touch His manger and the star. Praying, always praying, that Jesus would touch them right back.”

    Making this part of my prayer for by two boys! Thank you for sharing this beautiful post!!!



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