Day 5: Create straw for the donkey to lay on If anyone has noticed…many a nativity are created with “fairytales” in mind. Their pretty, tell a pretty little story. It’s hard to connect with the birth of our Lord seeing little twinkling stars and a clean stable. And this nativity keeps this in mind. Today is the day you will begin to realize Jesus’ birth happened in a real place. You are asked to make something-actually physically do something. Not only that–but you are asked to make something to remind you that this story happened in a real place, where donkeys needed a warm spot to lay down in a smelly, possibly cold and damp stable.
By the way–here’s one my nativity to prove my “fairytale” point 🙂
Day 4: The Donkey Here is where the nativity gets interesting. Angels, virgin birth–these things appear to be expected as we look back on the text. The donkey? Maybe not as much. There is nice story about a donkey in the Old Testament that yells at a prophet (serious–in Numbers), but this donkey is not that kind of donkey. This is the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem. He’s special for carrying the Mother of the Son of God. So many a nativity will include the donkey after the holy family. It’s a reminder that the ordinary became extraordinary at Christmas. Praise God!
Day Three: Joseph I always find it interesting that Mary cannot be without Joseph in a nativity. The same is true i the biblical story. Now, we could get analytical and talk about how men were in charge and talk about a lonely woman pregnant in 1st century would need a man– but honestly–i think Joseph is meant to be there for a bigger purpose. Though the Bible doesn’t contain but one story about Jesus’ parents instructing him, I’m sure Joseph did the best he could raising the Son of God. He was still a child at some point and the rest of the world thought Joseph was just being a nice guy taking in a woman who was pregnant before wedlock and raising the child.
So this day I remember Jesus’ earthly father. The man to who stood tall.
A few years back while visiting one of the California Mission, I decided to buy a nativity at the Catholic gift shop. It was an adorable idea–a whole nativity, made of fused clay, walking through the Advent Calendar. Ever since I have purchased it, I love started collecting nativities and really studying what kind of message they interpret of the Christmas story in the image they portray. So in the mood of the season, I thought I would walk through my Advent Nativity as well as through in some images of the nativities I have around the house.
December 1st: Mary : I do not find it weird or unusual that Mary is the first ti appear in the nativity, not the angel or Joseph. I think it is a very pleasant view. It reminds us where the miracle began–with Mary and her devotion to God when she was told she would bare His Son. At first, she probably felt alone. Young, confused, fully reliant on God yet completely scared of what the future was to bring. So when I begun this nativity with Mary and watch it grow around her, it reminds me that while it is our Lord who this season is about, Mary is still present with us as well.
December 2nd: the Angel: Now it makes complete sense to add the angel as the second figure in the nativity. The angel told Mary, told Joseph, a choir of angels told the shepherds and the world of the Glory that was to come. I wish this set came with more angel figures…for I feel after Mary & Joseph’s interaction, the angles could not contain themselves in the heavens and began spreading the good news to the world. But one angel is all I get to remind me of the great events that are to come.
May we remember Mary and the Angel as this advent season begins