Monday, December 09, 2013

Shelves, Elves and Walking Wise Men

First let me say this is not a “hating on the Elf on the Shelf” post. There is a blog post I read recently that I think explains why we don't do it and if you would like to read that visit this blog

This post is about a new Christmas tradition I am putting into place in our home. I think the Elf on the Shelf is a really cute idea but I also think that between elves, Santa, presents, marketing and debt that you not only have to be incredibly deliberate for the real purpose of Christmas to be the focus but you have to be consistent. every. day. So, as I was trimming my home for Christmas and getting out my 2nd nativity (don’t judge, I may even have a third) I thought of a fun way to involve my 3 year old in the story of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

I prepped our dining room table for the Nativity and put down the moss/straw stuff I use every year for the floor of the stable and put the donkey and the cow in place. Then I asked my daughter what she thought the shepherds were doing the month before Jesus was born and she said tending sheep. So, since they were near Bethlehem I put the shepherd and his sheep just a little ways away from the stable sitting on the dining room table.

Then I talked to her about the three Wise Men. I told her they were traveling from super far away to visit Jesus (yes, I know they probably got there when He was two but we will go with the creative license that has them included in the nativity scene). So we decided the bookshelf by the front door is the farthest place in our house where the Wise Men could begin their journey.

Next came Mary and Joseph. We talked about how they had to leave where they lived and go to Bethlehem because King Herod demanded it. Since they weren’t traveling the same distance as the
Wise Men they got to start their journey on our kitchen countertop.

As we were talking about the King Herod I saw the 3 Nutcracker soldiers in my Christmas d├ęcor. Seeing a chance to share even more of the story I pulled them out and borrowed one of her play castles and I setup Herod’s castle since the Wise Men will go to it on their way to worship Jesus.

Next we had to place the Angel that would be part of the Heavenly hosts that would announce the birth of the Savior. We chose the china cabinet because it was high up and would overlook “Bethlehem”. When I put the Angel up there it was next to a decorative cross and my daughter asked if the cross was up in Heaven too. I explained in many ways it was because when Jesus decided to come to Earth to save us He already knew He would have to die on the cross for our sins. (Sidenote: I am thinking about letting her color a picture of Jesus and putting it up in Heaven for right now too since that is where He was before He came to the Earth.)

Then she asked about Baby Jesus.

I explained that He wasn’t born yet and that Mary and Joseph would be traveling to Bethlehem and that right when they got there that Mary would give birth to Jesus. I said we would have to look for Him on Christmas morning and join the Angels, Wise men and shepherds celebrating that He was born. She got so excited and my heart leapt at the fact that on Christmas morning we would run into the dining room to find Jesus!

I did start to wonder if she was just mimicking my excitement or if she was really getting the idea but much to my surprise when I went into her room later in the afternoon she had taken her Fisher Price Nativity scene and put the different little people around her room. The she explained to me what they were doing and why she chose that spot for them, oh and that Aladdin is an honorary Wise Man.

I love that everyday we are going to move each part of the Christmas story closer to the stable. I feel like this gives our Christmas a grounding because each day we draw closer to the day Jesus coming to Earth we will be talking about it as a family.

I would love to hear any other Christmas traditions you have that help point the season back to Jesus! Please leave them in the comments and I will share them on my blog!

Here is my table... it looks so funny without the full Nativity but I even love that because I get a chance to share with people about what we are doing!


Katherine said...

We started doing a Jesse tree a couple of years ago. We worked together to make all of the ornaments, and every year we pick a branch and set it up to hang the ornaments on. I love that it ties together the story of the birth of Jesus with stories throughout the OT and points to the big story. The kids take turns hanging the ornaments and it is a sweet time every night.

Amy Clackum said...

Katherine, I love that idea! I love having something consistent that points to Jesus. It isn't enough to assume Christmas will do that on it's own, that's for sure! Thanks for sharing!!