Day 12 and 13: friends and their camels
I love adding to the nativity. Especially beyond the standard characters. The first additions typically are a sheep, a shepherd and a king (solitary) to remind you of those parts of the birth narrative. However, the good nativities will add all three kings. This advent nativity goes one step further–adding their camels.
I would like to think its a reminder than more than one came to honor the king. Three kings came–leaving no room for doubt as three witnessed the baby and followed the star. Little subtleties, great wonder and mystery.
Day 10 & 11: a tent and another Palm tree.
So now that Mary, Joseph, donkey and wise man (he actually has a name in my nativity, King so& so, but I’m not sure how historically accurate that is so I just refer to him as red coat white beard dude), you get to add some scenery. Now, as I stated before, the camel adds some fun. But more fun is adding things you get to make. My favorite homemade pieces are something you’ll see later and what’s above: the tent. It’s a helpful reminder that God will provide shelter while seeking Jesus, no matter what or who you are. If you think as I do that the “Kings” we’re more like astrological wise guys, then having a gypsy-like tent makes more sense. Something temporary and not super fancy.
And why another Palm tree? Why not- I say. You’ve got a road. I think it’s to encourage the journeying part of the Christmas story. That people, animals, Angels, and shepherds traveled on a journey. Then once Jesus was born, he traveled with his family on a journey too! So a tree, plain and simple as it were, can hold significance too
Advent season is upon us! And thanks to my nativity advent calendar, it has forced me to keep a goal of doing some spiritual study each day. Not only am I keeping my goal for 2015, but I am also connecting to the simple and everyday life that I know God lives in.
Day 8: Wise Men wait a minute?!? what? I thought the “Three Kings” came in January. Well, technically they do. But they saw a star and followed it. They didn’t juts arrive at Bethlehem the next day. Again, this nativity teaches us that God came into our world, worked through our time lines. The wise men had to leave eventually between seeing the star. Who knows, maybe they were on the same path that Joseph and Mary traveled weeks before. But they did begin the journey. And so starts the little wise men’s journey..
Day 9: Camels a comin’ : More reiteration of the reality page: each wise man has their own camel. Now-I get a kick because one of the camels looses its head every year because the glue failed. But I am thoroughly excited about adding them into the nativity. And I like to think about the living nativities that seem to think camels are essentials living animals to the story 😉
Continuing the theme of real world entering and the ordinary becomes extraordinary… my nativity advent calendar adds the following:
Day 7: the Palm Tree
Now–you’re probably thinking “ok Sara…you’ve got to be kidding me!” and yes–the first year I had this nativity I thought it was kind of cheesy that they decided to include a palm tree as part of the kit. I’m sure there’s some truth to finding 25 things they can make small figures out of for a kids’ advent nativity and palm trees were it (there are two FYI.)
But interestingly enough, now the tree reminds me of the two themes this nativity is teaching me. That Christ came into the real world and made the simple things matter. Made the every day important. And that’s pretty comforting.
Translation: no matter where you are in life, no matter what you are doing or what things it entails–God will be there. Why? – Because everything matters to God. A palm tree, a donkey, the stones on the path…they all matter.
Ha! You think that because today is Saturday, I forgot about advent! Nope…it’s still here and so am I
Day 6: stepping stones to Bethlehem.
One of the many reasons I love this nativity. You get to travel on the journey to the manager with everyone. Mary, Joseph, the animals, Kings and shepherds. It’s a lot of fun. And you get to make the stones and straw that are part of that journey.
Which is what the advent season is about…the journey with everyone to the manager. It’s beautiful. If you think about it, most nativities are kept within the manager scene, maybe a little outside with the arrivals of the Kings and shepherds and maybe a drummer boy. But this advent nativity brings you into the story, just as God brings us all into his.