Another Advent tradition we have here is our traveling nativity.
A couple of years ago I purchased a really inexpensive set of resin nativity figures that looks like little children dressed up in costumes. It only includes one shepherd and one angel, but they’re very adorable. I also purchased a small wooden nativity stable at the same time that is decorated with straw and peat moss, etc.
Each year we pull out the set and decide on a place for the stable. This year it’s on top of the tv. There’s a cow, and we go ahead and let him sleep in the stable to begin with. We then place the shepherd and his sheep nearby, because “there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). We decided to put him up on top of the clock.
Last we find a place FAR away for the three wise men…in the kitchen…on top of the cabinets. With a three year old and a one year old, it’s important to find places that are out of reach. .
We set our nativity up at the beginning of December, and each Sunday we move Mary & Joseph a little closer, planning to have them arrive on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve night, we pull out baby Jesus, set up the angel, and bring the shepherds over before we go to bed. Naturally, we read the Christmas story, straight out of the bible after we’ve got it all set up.
After Christmas Day, we begin moving the wise men closer, every other day or so, planning on having them arriving at the stable on January 6th. At that point we read the rest of the biblical account about the wise men and their gifts. We leave our nativity set up for an additional week or so before we take it down.
We enjoy doing our nativity set this way. It is a good way to tell the story of Jesus’ birth, acting it out in a way, and the children like moving the pieces and getting into the story.