Homemade nativity

posted in: Holidays, Family | 0
Homemade nativity
Homemade nativity
Many years ago we decided that we wanted to make the nativity scene the central focus of our family’s Christmas celebration. As much as I love to decorate for Christmas, we decided that instead of having a Christmas tree, we would to put our Christmas presents at the base of a large nativity scene. The only problem was we could not find a large enough nativity scene, and we could not have afforded it even if we did find one.

I’m not sure of the exact year, but I believe it was sometime aroung 1987 or 1988. We had some very kind neighbors and the husband was a woodworker. He had a huge variety of wonderful woodworking tools. I had done a little woodworking in college, so I decided to make our own nativity set. I drew out my patterns and used our neighbor’s tools to cut out and carve Mary and Joseph the first year. Joseph is about 18″ tall. Jesus came the next year. The original plan was to make additional shepherds and sheep, wise men and camels, etc. We ended up moving before anyone else could join the family of three, but it has served us well through the years. We’ve typically placed them on a table and clustered all the gifts around them and on the floor by the table. In 2005, our church bought its first building and, since the girls have grown up, we now use the nativity scene at church so more people can enjoy it. Now baby Jesus lies on a manger made from a rock found in the basement of our church.

You might be wondering, if we don’t have a Christmas tree, why do I even bother making Christmas ornaments and what do we do with all of them? I make them as a small personal “legacy” gift to my girls so they can remember the wonderful times we had as a family. Through the years we’ve displayed them in various ways. In the early years when there weren’t very many, we would hang them from the fireplace mantle. For a couple years we hung them from tension rods placed in the front windows. After that we moved the tension rods to the top of the doorways leading to the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen. After we moved, I draped a white chain along the living room valance and we hung ornaments from the chain links. Next year the girls will get to decide how they will display their own ornaments.

Christmas Eve is my husband’s favorite church service. We always have a Candlelight Service. We turn down the lights and everyone, even the kids, gets a little candle to hold. Then we all sing Christmas carols and one of the kids reads the Christmas story out of the gospel of Luke. After my husband gives a short message, we have a great time eating cookies and homemade candies and enjoying one another’s company. In the early days, we had Candlelight Service in our home, which made it really special. The last couple years we did that, we really had to pack everyone in. We overflowed into the kitchen and the dining room and up the staircase. Now that we have Candlelight Service at the church. If you’re in the area and looking for something special to do on Christmas Eve, we’d love for you to join us at Calvary Chapel of Dayton. We’ll start at 7 PM.