Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Activity" scenes

I have always loved Nativity scenes.  My favorite is the wooden one that my grandfather built over the years.  It is completely kid proof and he even built me a whole host of angels after I complained that 1 angel did not equal a host.   Our flock of sheep is a little small, but Grandpa has been celebrating Christmas with Jesus for 5 years now, so it won't grow anymore.  I dream one day of having my own wooden nativity scene, patterned after that one.
Anyhow, one Christmas, when Isaac was rather little yet, he excitedly started talking about the "activity scene".  We couldn't figure out what he meant so he showed us the wooden nativity, pointing and saying "activity scene". I remember correcting him initially and then realizing how correct he was.  That scene is really the hub of activity and in our house, it truly is an activity scene.  It isn't set in one location and it does not remain stationary, by any stretch of the imagination.
The stable waits in Bethlemhem, empty, except for a donkey and the manger. Sometimes the star hangs out before Christmas, other years it doesn't appear until Christmas eve.
Mary and Joseph travel with their donkey from afar, moving a little closer to Bethlehem each day.
The shepherds keep watch over their three sheep.  This year they have a little "fire" to warm their hands at.
The angels are waiting to make their big debut and proclaim the birth of Jesus.
The wise men and their camels have the farthest to come.  They won't make it to the manger until January 6 (if they make it all...depends when Christmas stuff gets packed away this year).
By Christmas morning everyone (except the wise men) will be at the stable in Bethlehem.  It truly is an activity scene.

Since I love nativity scenes so much, I actually set up four of them this weekend when I was decorating with the boys.  Here they are:
This is my least favorite of all of them.  Its one redeeming quality is that it doesn't have three wise men.  Scenes that have the stereotypical 3 wise men bug me to no end.  Long story there.
This is the newest piece in our family's collection.  It's from Peru and sometimes we pretend the llamas are really alpacas.  It's living on top the fish tank this year.
This is our tiniest nativity scene.  Some years it hangs on the Christmas tree.  This year it's sitting in the window sill
This is a close up of the tiny baby Jesus.
This is my second favorite nativity scene.  It is mom's and she got it when she was in college or something, so it's older than I am.  This year, faith is meeting science in a whole new way.
A close up of the manger.
Only the wooden one moves around, but it is a enough of a reminder that here, from Nazareth to Bethlehem, from the fields to the stable, from the East to the West, here is where the real activity of Christmas happens.

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