12.09.2010

Nativity Set Advent Presents

Today I want to share one of our family's most special Christmas traditions.  It centers around the hand-painted ceramic 20 piece nativity set that my mother-in-law made for us as a wedding gift.  You could do the same thing with any nativity set, tweaking it to go with your set.  So, what we do is individually wrap each piece of the set as a gift.  Each has a tag on it with the date it is to be opened, and the reading/song that goes with it.  I've linked each of the song titles to a place where you can find the words and music for them, and even listen to an mp3 of the song.  You can look up scripture references here.
Mary

Below are the pieces, dates we open them and the reading/singing that goes with them:

Date      Piece                           Reading/Singing
12/5      Mary                           Luke 1:26-35, 38

12/6      Joseph                         Matt 1:18-21, 24-25

12/7      Donkey                        Luke 2:1-5

12/8      Manger                        Luke 2:6-7; Dictionary: Manger -- "a trough or open box in a stable designed to hold feed or fodder for livestock."

12/9      Sheep 1                        Sing "Once in Royal David's City"

12/10    Cow                             Sing "Once Within a Lowly Stable"

12/11    Sheep 2                        Sing "Away in a Manger"

12/12    Shepherd 1                   Luke 2:8

12/13    Shepherd 2                   Sing "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks"

12/14    Angel                            Luke 2:9-14

12/15    Shepherd 3                   Luke 2:15-16

12/16    Shepherd 4                   Luke 2:17-20

12/17    Star                              Matt 2:9-10 and Hel 14:3-5(In The Book of Mormon)

12/18    Wise Man 1                  Matt 2:1-2 and define Magi(I found this in the Bible Dictionary that I have).

12/19    Wise Man 2                  Matt 2:3-6

12/20    Wise Man 3                  Sing "With Wondering Awe"

12/21    Camel 1                        Matt 2:7-8

12/22    Camel 2                        Matt 2:9-10

12/23    Camel 3                        Matt 2:11-12; Dictionary: Frankincense -- "a fragrant gum resin from trees [found in] Somalia and southern coastal Arabia that is an important incense resin and was used in ancient times in religious rites and in embalming."  Myrrh -- "a yellowish brown to reddish brown aromatic gum resin with a bitter and slightly pungent taste obtained from a tree of eastern Africa and Arabia."

12/24   Nephi                            3 Ne 1:4-21 (For those of you that are not familiar with this character or scripture reference, it is from The Book of Mormon.  There are some portions of it that are about what was happening on the American continents the night before Christ was born, this Nephi saw the new star in the sky the night before He was born, so our Nephi figure is looking up at our star which we hang from the ceiling over the manger)

12/25   Baby Jesus                    Isa 7:14; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:31-33, 35; Luke 2:10-11; John 3:16-17


We open these gifts each night after our family scripture study.  We do the reading/singing before we open them, and then the girls get to take turns opening them and very carefully placing them on our "bar".  On Christmas morning we open the little present of Baby Jesus first before any others.  This sets the tone for the day because we have focused on what Christmas is really about.  The verses we read just before opening the box include prophesies made many years before His birth, they tell us about Him, and then the verses in John are some of my most favorite in all of scripture, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish; but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." -- John 3:16-17.  We remember that Jesus was the first Christmas gift ever given, and He was given to all of us by our Heavenly Father.  I also love that we open one of these each day, so that we remember all season long what we are celebrating.  It's a wonderful tradition.  I hope that some of you will choose to use this in your own families.  I'd love to hear about it if you do, and how you and your family feel about it.
This is cut vinyl that my friend did for me.  This is on our wall above our piano.  This is the same friend that did the vinyl for the windows of my van.

Merry Christmas!  and Happy Crafting!  May you finish all of your handmade gifts in time without staying up all night on Christmas Eve!

April :)

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