About the Book
Rejoice in the real reason for Christmas with this inspiring book full of holiday celebration ideas that will keep your family connected to Christ. Inside you’ll find twelve days of fun that focus on the figures in your nativity set. Share the book and the activities with family, friends and neighbors as you celebrate the Nativity this year.
About the Author
Marilee Woodfield is an author, blogger, early childhood educator, bible-study teacher and cake decorator. You can find her preschool music work at kids-and-music.blogspot.com, her fantastical cake creations at frostedinsanity.com and her several teacher resource books as well as her latest book The 12-day Nativity on amazon.com, and at her blog 12daynativity.com which is dedicated to "all things nativity". She and her family live in Carrollton, TX.
Ever since St. Francis of Assisi first began the tradition, families and communities have also celebrated the Christmas season by displaying nativities to illustrate the Christmas story. While Santa and the commercialized Christmas we have all come to expect has grown, so has the feeling of anxiety while we focus less on experiencing Christmas, and more and more on purchasing it.
In this book you’ll find activities that you can use to prepare to celebrate the Nativity story, and fill your home with the spirit of Christmas as a result.
Whether you choose to do one activity a day in the 12 days leading up to Christmas, (or follow original tradition where the 12 days of Christmas begins on Christmas day), or just choose a select few, use this book as a guide to help you decide how much celebrating makes sense for your family, with the ultimate goal being that you have a spirit- filled family-friendly holiday season. and Jesus Christ the central part of your Christmas.
The Family Nativity
As a collector of Nativities (over 70 and counting!), it’s hard to choose a favorite. They’re all so different in so many ways. Some are elegant and fragile, others are simple and hand made. Some come from places as far away as South Africa, while others were made right here in my kitchen by my children. While each is loved and admired, few are as dear to me as “the family nativity set” – the one that adorned my home throughout my childhood. We didn’t have many Christmas decorations, but the Nativity set always had a special place atop the piano. This is it’s story:
As a child I remember my family having one nativity set that was displayed each year. It was a simple white set made of plaster, and the stable was built out of scrap wood and leftover paneling from our 1970’s chic basement. The set always sat perched on top of the piano, surrounded by twinkle lights covered with angel hair (a spun-glass product that is hair-like and white-translucent). The figures were not heavy, and it was always a challenge to find a spot where they would stand up in between the lights, angel hair. And the increasingly warped stable.
Over the years our family nativity grew in “character” as heads were broken off and re-glued, and delicate features became worn with use. The shepherds and wise men were referred to as the “German shepherds” and “wise guys”. My sister affectionately labeled the sheep as “cheats” before she could pronounce them otherwise. I was more concerned about the naked baby Jesus, and exasperated my mother as every time she passed the nativity she would find a dirty old rag or handkerchief covering the baby Jesus. When she finally discovered the responsible party, I explained that I thought the baby Jesus must be cold. She didn’t protest my efforts after that, but did offer a small, clean white hanky to replace the old dust rag I had been using.
After many years, and a house that slowly emptied as children grew, married and left to build their own Christmas traditions, a new nativity set was purchased and replaced the old worn and dilapidated original. Eventually the family nativity set ended up at the home of one of my brothers, and was saved from the Goodwill pile by my sister-in-law who knew I had begun collecting nativities. It had come to them as a “white elephant” gift exchange between siblings a few years prior, and it had been abandoned on a basement storage shelf for a few years.
The stable is warped, and I have to re-set the nails every year. The figures have been chewed by one or more toddlers or naughty puppies, dropped, broken and re-glued many times over, depicting a much more horrific tale of carnage than the traditional nativity story. It is by no means the most beautiful nativity in our home, but it is one of my favorites. First as a symbol of happy Christmases past, and also because it reminds me of my relationship with the Savior – broken and fixed many times over, warped, not pretty, but loved and beloved just the same.
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