How did this Journey to Bethlehem begin? Well, it started on December 17, 2010 when my 1st grader was on stage presenting for the first time at a school winter assembly. This snaggletooth group sang publicly together for the 1st time and the song was:
How many miles to Bethlehem? four score and ten.
Can I get there by candlelight? yes, and back again.
Not one mistake or blooper – what a great way to begin our holiday break. We were excited to be out of school for 2 weeks and looking forward to our family rituals for celebrating the winter solstice and christmas.
We follow the tip in Festivals With Children by Brigitte Barz and build our nativity table slowly over the four weeks of advent. We began the 1st week of advent with just stones placed on our collection of blue silks. The next week we added plants which included the wood stable. On the 3rd week we added the kingdom of animals with wooden, stuffed and even a few feathers. Finally on that Saturday evening, December 18 we would bring the kingdom of humans to our nativity table.
Mine looked horrible! I LOVE Casey’s Wood products for all my beads, dowels and cutouts, but the nativity figures did not look good on our table. Maybe painted they would look better, but as they were you couldn’t tell who was who. I was very thrilled with the price of the small figures from Casey’s, I was terribly disappointed in the display. It just wasn’t a fit for my manger.
What I really need is nativity figures that can be played with and moved around. We need to be able to move Mary around to show her journey. She needs to be able to sit, stand and kneel. She needs a baby bump. We need to be able to recreate the Shepherd’s Play. We need Wise Men who are up for the travel around all the tall shelves in our living room (out of pet reach).
I’m a dollmaker for goodness sake! I need to make my own nativity dolls. However, this is not a project that one can begin on December 18. Making a full set of nativity figures is a year-long project. It is a journey. For me it is a journey to Bethlehem.
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