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