Did your family have a nativity scene/set when you were growing up? If so I bet you played with it or were at least tempted to play with it!

St. Francis, in a cave in Grecio Italiy in 1223, wanted to have a tangible experience of what the nativity in an animal barn would have been like. He gathered people to play characters and filled a cave with animals and all their breathy heat, fermented sweet smell, and rythms to this space. From then on people have been acting out the nativity but also have had figurines of the nativity in their homes (I don't know when people started doing that).

I love nativity sets. I love their creativity, the theology that different settings, scenes images evoke. Courtesy of Bette and Alan (MY DEAR friends who also married us) who told me about their tradition of doing this we have our kings traveling all over the house until Epiphany (January 8) and THEN they get to hang out with the rest of the gang. Baby Jesus doesn't make an appearance until Christmas Eve (if Mary is lucky)...and the rest of the gang has been working their way out of the Advent Calendar pockets for the past month.

We have 3 sets. When S and I were in Thailand on our honeymoon over Christmas (2008) we splurged and decided to buy something special for us there...We bought the beautiful clay nativity set. We love it! It was a very good gift from us to us.

The other set made of Olive wood I think is from S's old small group from Cambridge. They gave it to us as a wedding gift. The parts have been a big hit in helping Junia's 4 new teeth come in. She has loved heads of the kings especially (or as we call them Wiseladies).

The third one, more abstract, is actually parts to a puzzle and is from my childhood. My mom said she didn't want it and I love it! So it was mine! I love the abstract faces made only of 2 holes for eyes and I also love the durability...well except for the camel which only has 2 legs now. (I am thinking of cutting the other 2 legs off so it is a resting camel??)


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