Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Nativity Scene for Christmas

Walking through a shopping center last year, I rounded a corner and suddenly found myself face to face with a surprising Christmas decoration. Hidden away among all the tinsel and the Christmas trees and twinkly lights I found a Nativity scene. I was so surprised that a shopping center of all places would have one of these. Most public places seem to be trying to take the "Christ out of Christmas." Some 'Christmas shops are full of lights and baubles and wrapping paper, but not a single nativity scene.

But way back, even to the 10 century, people were making nativity scenes to remind themselves of Christ's role in Christmas. These nativity scenes were much like the ones we have today, except that people then covered the humble stable scene with gold and jewels. Jesus's humble act of being born in a stable was lost among the precious materials used to make the nativity scenes. It wasn't until St Francis of Assisi took a hand that the people were finally put right.

St Francis of Assisi had seen the nativity scenes of the day and knew that they were wrong. To show the people that what they were making was wrong, he decided to make his own nativity scene. On Christmas day he showed people his living nativity scene. Everyone could come and look at St Francis's nativity scene and see for themselves what the first Christmas was really like.

It was through St Francis that the nativity scene was really popularized. Nowadays you can find nativity scenes in the homes of all good Catholics and even in those unexpected places such as the shopping center where I had my surprise.

Many nativity scenes are made of china and cost quite a lot. But you don't need an expensive nativity scene at all. We have a couple of nativity scenes, but our main one is a simple scene that we created out of Cornflake boxes and felt. We have had it for around fifteen years and still looks as good as new. Plus the fact that our three wise men aren't breakable makes them perfect for 'hunt the wise men.'

Because the nativity scene is so important to us as Catholic, Etcetera and I decided that there was nothing better that we could make than a nativity scene of our own. Our nativity scene includes a Manger for baby Jesus and a stable. Normal nativity scenes have the three wise men also, but we've decided not to release them until Epiphany, the feast of the Three Kings.

We hope you'll love our cute nativity scene. It comes coloured or uncoloured, if your children are the sort who like to colour in their own paper dolls. To make the dolls stand up, simply bend the stands on the dotted line. If the dolls are a bit unsteady a bit of blue-tack stuck on the stands should help. We recommend that you either printed the set out onto card or cut it out and paste it onto card.

To make up the stable first cut out all the pieces. Then bend the flaps of the triangular front pieces backwards. Stick the roof pieces to the flaps. This should create a triangular roof. Bend the flaps of the walls backwards. Stick the top flap of each piece to the roof. Stick the bottom flap to a pieces of heavy cardboard. Now your stable is ready to receive Jesus on Christmas day.

Please go to our paper dolls page and check out the new nativity scene. Merry Christmas!

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