In the hallway
A Nativity set displayed in the home is another way to keep Jesus the focus during Advent. Many homes traditionally have one Nativity set displayed that is often for looking not touching. When I recall my childhood visits to my Granny’s house or my Great Aunts’ house during Christmas what I remember about the nativity sets was they were not for interaction. The beautiful nativity sets just called me to them I longed to touch the delicate figurines, to hold the sweet little baby Jesus, to pretend the sheep were grazing in the fields. My child driven interest was to BE in the MOMENT with Jesus. I wanted to participate in the joy of Christmas through play. Because I was not able to play with the nativity sets I had to settle for looking at them as close as I could without touching. It’s funny how all these years later I still remember being scolded for testing the limits of what was too close to those family heirloom nativity sets.
What we have learned is that our children are naturally drawn to the Nativity set just as we were as children. Children want to interact with it. They long to be near sweet baby Jesus to play out the Nativity story with their own hands. Rather than worry a family heirloom could be broken by little hands we have chosen to make a Nativity set available for our children to explore. In our home we have several types of Nativity sets displayed. Many are for looking and others are for touching. By enabling certain sets to be child friendly our children have become more connected to the Advent season. As our children have aged we have given them more liberties with some of our Nativity sets. We began a new tradition of having our older children have the honor to set up our family heirloom nativity scene. Once it was Mom who would talk about the many ways each of the figures can teach us about waiting for Jesus, following Jesus, or receiving Jesus, now it is the older sibling’s special role. As the younger ones watch on knowing that their turn in the tradition will soon come to be the child who sets up the family nativity set telling the story of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.