the nativity set

 We have a small nativity set that my aunt gave to our family several years ago. I put it out with our christmas decorations each year, but it is usually placed up high out of the reach of our children as it is breakable and they are, well, kids.

But I decided this year to put the nativity lower.  Within reach. Surrounded by teensy flakes of snow.  I fully expected that the boys would take interest in it and that there would probably be snowflakes all over the place, but I didn’t really anticipate what my no. 2 did yesterday afternoon.

First, he rearranged all of the figurines so that they were in a tight circle around baby Jesus. He fixed the snow so it was just right and stood staring at it for a short time.

Next, he went to the table and started a little craft. I thought nothing of it. He has a short attention span and moves from activity to activity like a whirlwind.

Only later did I realize that my sweet boy’s craft time consisted of taping a star to the amaryllis plant.

Because every nativity scene needs a star.

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

“the magi went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”  Matthew 2

It is hard to find ways to keep our focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas. I love the carols, the lights, the shopping and decorating, the baking and parties. I even love santa. But most of all, I love Jesus. And I want so badly for my children to love him too.

My son making a star for the manger scene tells me he gets it. In his own six-year-old way, he cared enough about the story to make it right.

When I saw that star, I was overjoyed.

113 Responses to the nativity set

  1. Carolyn December 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Thanks for sharing that precious story.

  2. Julie December 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    Oh my goodness, that made me cry! Such a beautiful post- sweet child- thank you for sharing it. Merry Christmas to your sweet child!

  3. Jen December 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    that’s so sweet. i almost cried!

  4. Katie December 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    I absolutely love this story! This is exactly what I pray for my boys too! Thanks for sharing the joy!

  5. Lindsay December 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    It is all so beautiful and so homey! I love every part of it. I love the “L” on the door – so creative rather than the traditional wreath. My favorite part is probably all of the awesome word art around your home that reminds of the true meaning of Christmas. Amazing job fluffing for Christmas!

  6. Kelsie December 12, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    I love your blog some much. I especially love it when you include stories like this. I got teary-eyed just reading it. It’s so simple just so moving. I’m glad you were able to see the magnitude of greatness in that moment and share it.

  7. Candice December 10, 2011 at 7:57 pm #


  8. Desiree December 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    This brought tears to my eyes! So beautiful!!!

  9. Aja December 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    This is so precious it makes me want to cry!

  10. katey December 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3John 1:4

  11. Susanna December 10, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Love this post. I did some shopping yesterday and was disturbed by the lyrics of some of the newer holiday songs that were playing and later by how distorted some of the Christmas movies for kids are on TV these days. It feels so good to read a post like this that is all about the pure, simple TRUTH of our Savior’s birth and what that means for us. Thanks Emily!

  12. Abigail December 9, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    thanks for sharing…that’s so sweet and just beautiful. our kids just have a way of touching our hearts and lifting our spirits up

  13. Amanda M. December 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    So beautiful. So amazingly beautiful.

  14. Nicoly December 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Wow, that moved me to tears…sweet boy!

  15. Janette December 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    God bless us, everyone. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Karlie Riess Munro December 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    All I can say is this is the most sweetest touching Christmas story I’ve ever heard!

  17. Ashleigh December 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    I got chills reading this. Thank you for reminding us why we really celebrate this holiday!

  18. bevy December 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    tearing up reading this. so beautiful. this is proof you’re raising your kiddos right.

  19. Carol December 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    I know this made your Christmas and I thank you for sharing the story with all of us. When you least expect it our children take our breath away. Merry Christmas!!

  20. Ashley December 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    That is so heart warming! What a wonderful job you are doing raising your babes! I love to hear stories like this, thanks so much for taking the time to share. My son just turned 4 and its amazing how much information they retain. I have been getting the crazy why and how questions from my Mason. For instance, last night we had breakfast for dinner (one of my favs!) and he was telling us that eggs come from chickens and then all of a sudden he had this concerned look on his face and said there are baby chickens in the eggs! Very soon after he asked “why do we eat the baby chickens” so matter of factly that it seemed not to bother him. I hope I get better at this question & answer game as time goes on because my answer to him was “There are lots of chickens and God gave them to us to eat”. ugh, what? haha. It was good enough for him and I guess its the truth :-) but seriously, nobody should ever ask me to write a book about these things. Oh, and Mason called me mom the other day and I just about cried. HE IS ONLY 4! I told him that wasn’t my name, it was “mommy”. Im holding out as long as I can! Anyways, I hope y’all have a Merry Christmas!

  21. Kellyb December 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    This post totally made me cry! So so sweet!! Merry Christmas to you and yours :). Thank you for the precious reminder of the reason for our season. xoxo

  22. Robin December 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    There are no raises, promotions, or awards in the job of parenting. This is far better than any of those things. The moments that affirm that you are doing something right. Sometimes those moments are rare — enjoy this. Good job Mom & Dad and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  23. Janna H December 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    What a beautiful story!! Thank you for sharing!

  24. Torie December 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    SUCH a sweet story. Thank you for sharing. I too, want my daughter to fully understand the story of Christmas. I must say the hullabaloo surrounding presents and Santa make me cringe.

  25. Natasha December 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm #


  26. Victoria December 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Brady continues to be the one in the family who is full of surprises – tender and sensitive – while bashing things about on his off-time! Oh, Brady, I love you very much and am thankful that you show us what is going on inside that little head of yours. Good things, indeed.

  27. Jennifer December 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    tears!! how sweet!

  28. michelle December 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    SO precious!!! that made my day…and love, love his little heart!

  29. Jane December 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Thank you for this post – it was so sweet and made me smile!

  30. heidi December 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    …and a little child shall lead them.

  31. Jamie Harris December 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Oh my. You will carry that in your heart forever. Thank you so much for sharing. We have a precious nativity, too. I keep it low and they rearrange it from time to time. Years ago, I bought the Playmobil nativity set. Just when I thought they might be getting too old for it, my two youngest (10 and 8) squealed when they saw it this year and went right to work on it. Jesus is in the little things and our little ones rarely miss that! Merry Christmas!

  32. sara @ it's good to be queen December 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    wow. i’m teary eyed…God is so. good. to us…… to give us those little moments to hold on to in the midst of all the crazy that is motherhood. so thankful to be encouraged by other mama bloggers who want to teach their babies to love Jesus. thank you for sharing.

  33. Kyrie December 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    How precious. “Out of the mouths of children…”
    Thanks for sharing this sweet story. It brought tears to my eyes! If only we were all more like children!



  34. Lindsay Kinnick December 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    *sniff*. Precious. Thank you for sharing!

  35. michelle December 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    now that is just surreal, so wonderful!

  36. Lindsay December 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Wow, Emily…what a beautiful story! I’ve been thinking to myself how easy it is to get lost in all the Christmas magic and forget that it is truly about Jesus. Thank you for this sweet reminder today!

  37. Kelli December 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    That is a beautiful story. I love Jesus as well and want my little boy to love Him, too, so this brought tears to my eyes along with a prayer that these little ones might continue to seek out The Baby this season and as they grow.

  38. Tamara December 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    What a sweet story – it made me smile! I bet seeing that made your heart so happy. I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas!

  39. Jenny - Sugar Loco December 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    how did you not bawl your eyes out? so beautiful!!

  40. Kathryn December 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    that just totally made me tear up! How beautiful. Now that’s what Christmas is all about. I love how kids get it – my kids want a nativity scene, on the roof (????), with a big huge (lit-up) star and an angel, and I’m supposed to make it ;) Merry Christmas!!!

  41. Claire December 9, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    My 2 year old got his 1st nativity for his birthday on the 4th of this month! He seems to know just how precious the gift was and is. Thank you for sharing what I have to look forward to. But I am wondering where in the world your aunt found that nativity. It is the most gorgeous! Please tell if you don’t mind sharing!

  42. aprairiegirlincalifornia December 9, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    This is so precious. YOu must be a wonderful mum and example:)

  43. Susanna December 9, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    This brought tears to my eyes. How very special. <3 Thank you for sharing!

  44. Chantel December 9, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    oh, that is so precious! bring tears to my eyes. a true testament to the wonderful way you are showing him God’s love. thank you for sharing this. Merry Christmas!!!

  45. Elizabeth December 9, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    This is so sweet! Thanks for the reminder!

  46. Rebekah Pogue December 9, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    This sweet story brings tears to my eyes. Such a simple gesture. Such a big heart impact. Thanks for sharing.

    On a personal note, I stumbled upon your blog, and realized you were an APU RA on Adams, my freshmen year, when I was on Alissa’s floor. Small world! I love seeing how God is using your gift of writing.

    Bekah Pogue

  47. Sarah Fink December 9, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Love this post!!!

  48. joy December 9, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    That is so cool! I love that too…don’t you just love when they “get it”? My girls are 15 and almost 17 now but my youngest can.not.wait. to get her hands on our little “precious moments” (I think it was a wedding gift–20 years ago) nativity set. The people are only about an inch tall but she painstakingly puts it up every year, moving, arranging, moving, arranging…til she has it right where she thinks it’s best seen and loved. I think she gets it too :)

  49. Sue Schneider December 9, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Your post really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing it with us. If you have time, please send up a prayer that my granddaughter, who is 2, learns to love Jesus, too. It’s hard when the parents don’t seem to care that much. But, God’s love is so much bigger and can overcome that obstacle and maybe even bring them to faith someday!

  50. Hayden December 9, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    So exciting to see our kids learn about Jesus and come to love Him! That is my daily prayer for my own children that they will know the love and sacrifice…that God would give up His own son for us so that we might have life!!! Thanks for sharing through the eyes of your child!

  51. amber December 9, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    How precious! That is one of the many things that I love about having children – seeing things through their eyes; how they are learning, understanding, and processing, and many times helping us to see more clearly and deeply. Thank you for sharing!

  52. Susie at ProsperityStuff December 9, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    Beautiful! How special that your little guy “gets it”! When I was little, my mom had a similar breakable nativity scene … she decided to let it be within reach of us kids, and that made it all the more special and memorable. Fast-forward two or three decades … my Saturday blog post (tomorrow) has pictures of the two nativity scenes we have out right now. Where the kids can touch them …

  53. Theresa~ December 9, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    That was so sweet, it reminds me of a scripture in Isaiah…’a little child shall lead them’. What a beautiful reminder of what this wonderful season is truly about. If all blogs, advertisements, music, conversations, etc. were truly focused on Jesus Christ we would be living in a more happy and peaceful world. Give your child a hug for me for touching my heart. Merry Christmas!

  54. Amy @ A New Old House December 9, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    That is so sweet!
    I think a nativity is a wonderful way for kids to understand the Christmas Story. I bought a Fontanini set that looks like glass, but is really a rubber/plastic material since I knew I wanted the kids to play with it ’til their heart’s content! (And my parents’ set had the heads glued back on more times than I can count!)

  55. Melanie December 9, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Love this so much… tear
    Proverbs 22:6

  56. Lemonade Makin Mama December 9, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    YOu’re obviously doing something right… way to go Mama! :)

  57. Anna December 9, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    very sweet. I collect Nativity scenes and love your tray with snow. I need this for one of my sets. One year we took the star for the top of the tree that had lights in it and hung it on a nail over our Nativity.(I also leave one Nativity on a shelf by my drafting table where I create year round and my big set stays out until Valentines day- the symbol of true love.) I love your story…………

  58. Susan Huls December 9, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Precious children. The most meaningful and beautiful things come from them.

  59. Stephanie Tracy December 9, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    That is so precious! You’ve done a great job Mama! Christmas blessings to you and your’s <3

  60. shelley johannes December 9, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    beautiful. yes, that is what we want for our children. i’ve found myself praying for their young hearts more and more lately.

  61. traci December 9, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    That is so precious!!!

  62. Tiffany Day December 9, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    precious – absolutely precious – kids are amazing – its a testament that you and your husband are truly teaching them :)

    happy friday!

  63. Heidi Biggs December 9, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    What an awesome story. It’s amazing how our little ones absorb the things we’re never sure they quite grasp. And then they turn around and touch our hearts with it. I wouldn’t normally share this, but since it’s Christmas…our 2 year old isn’t much of a talker, which we’ve really worried about over the past year. But somewhere along the line he’s learned to read. We caught him on video reading the Christmas story. I think you can see it here. http://youtu.be/78mbjK4mPmQ

    Merry Christmas!

  64. Ericka J. December 9, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    That is just beyond precious. Thanks for sharing!!!

  65. Sara December 9, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    Brought tears to my eyes. I think that is every mother’s wish for their children love Jesus. It looks like your doing a pretty good job of making that wish come true. God Bless your Christmas.

  66. Ashley @ One in the SAHM December 9, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Oh my word – that is the sweetest thing!

  67. Pam December 9, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Well Merry Christmas! That is the dearest story.

  68. amy December 9, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    perfect. that is a beautiful story. thank you for sharing.

  69. nicole P December 9, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    very sweet story. thanks for sharing.

  70. Cindy December 9, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Absolutely precious! :) I know that made your day!

  71. Janelle December 9, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    What a sweet story. I, too, teared up reading this. I’m always amazed at how clearly children see and understand the gospel. The amazing power of the Holy Spirit is so evident in the faith of children. They never cease to surprise me. Thank you for sharing this story. And, as Linus from the Peanuts gang would say, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

  72. Linda December 9, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Your blog today brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful Mom you are and teaching your children the true meaning of Christmas! Sometimes in our busy lives, we wonder if we’re doing a good job parenting and especially when we have a bad day. You can be proud of #2 and yourself as Mom.
    Have a very blessed Christmas!

  73. amy December 9, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Gorgeous… I loved every bit of that story. Thank you.
    My friends on facebook are enjoying it now, too.

    Merry Christmas!

  74. Emily Kilpatrick December 9, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Goosebumps. Your boy is so precious.

  75. Gerry Lynne Baker December 9, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    This was so touching, it brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. What a wonderful mother you are. Your children reflect the Light of the World. Blessings to you and yours.

  76. Allie December 9, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Your post reminds me of the book Mortimers
    Christmas Manger … Have you read it? So sweet!

    It is about a mouse and a nativity set… :)

  77. Emily December 9, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Love this- Thank you for sharing. Such a wonderful reminder of the real reason for this wonderful blessed season.

  78. Terri December 9, 2011 at 9:57 am #


  79. Suzanne Jackson December 9, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    Very precious — thanks for sharing. My 13-yr-old son enjoyed seeing this, too!

  80. Rebecca Jeanne December 9, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    That is SUPER SWEET! I totally got chills!

  81. lori lucas December 9, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    Sweetness beyond words. Those are the moments that make everything worth it…and all totally right with the world. Thanks for sharing so we could all enjoy…And remember. Lori Lucas

  82. Tatum December 9, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    So sweet! This brought tears to my eyes! Some of my fondest memories this time of year are of playing with our nativity set that had been passed down to my mom from her grandma. It was a hand carved wooden set. I can still remember the smell. Unforuntately, while my parents were moving a few years ago a box flew off the trailer and that nativity set was in it. They did realize it had flown off. So sad! I need to get a set for my little to play with. : )

  83. Katie December 9, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    I almost cried reading this. I LOVE seeing how kids show they are “getting it.” Praise God for His work in them!

  84. meg @ oursomethingnew December 9, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    This is so sweet! Kids surprise me sometimes with their ability to completely bring it all into perspective in such a simple way! Merry Christmas!

  85. Jessica December 9, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    That is amazing and so precious- thank you for sharing that!!!

  86. Shannon December 9, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Thank you for sharing such a precious post. I have a 15 month old daughter and also want her to know and love Jesus. It brought tears to my eyes. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

  87. Maggie @ Black & White {Side by Side} December 9, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    So glad you posted about this! Children are wonderful!!! :)

  88. Gina December 9, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Oh, that is so sweet. It is easy to get caught up in Santa and all the other stuff…we have to be very intentional about showing other’s Jesus.

  89. Beth December 9, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    Wow ! That is simply beautiful. I teared up just reading how your child organized it to make it just right. So so beautiful.

  90. Paige December 9, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    That is such a sweet story and wonderful reminder of the real reason for the season. Thank you for sharing!

  91. Danielle O. December 9, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    There’s something very amazing about the 5-6 year old mind. My No. 2, now six years old, started doing the same thing last year with a gift he received from his preschool teachers. A nativity finger puppet set, nothing real special at first glance. Just rubber finger puppets of Mary, Joseph, three wisemen, and little Baby Jesus in a manger. He positions them in a very specific tight circle without fail. If they get messed with or fall over, he fixes them each and every night. The first time I found it last year, I stood there in amazement, while thousands of legos and nerf blasters are strewn about at random, a rubber nativity set sits in perfect formation?! And as if clockwork, he started the same thing again this year when it came out with the Christmas decor. Really nothing more than a simple toy in reality, but he knows that Baby Jesus should be handled with great care and respect, and that in itself is truly amazing.

  92. Amelia December 9, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    That is so sweet!

  93. Becky December 9, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    What a sweet moment as a mom!

  94. Katy December 9, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    Looks like you’ve taught your children to love Jesus the most as well! This story made me tear up a little bit. So very sweet!

  95. Karen M December 9, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    What a beautiful story!!! You have obviously raised your son to love Jesus with that same love that you have. I am always so thankful for those glimpses into my children’s hearts that show me that “maybe I am doing something right after all.” lol Enjoy your day and have a blessed Christmas.

  96. Nicole December 9, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    That’s the kind of story we all need to hear! And I agree with the other commenters. There really are no words to describe how I felt after reading about your son and his star.

  97. Kathleen Leonard December 9, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    This is simply put, Awesome! I feel the exact same way about my kids always remembering the real reason we celebrate this grand day. We wish you and your family a wonderful celebration of jesus’ birthday!!!

  98. Jennifer December 9, 2011 at 7:25 am #


  99. Tiffany A. Nelson December 9, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    Children have such an innocence, it serves as a constant reminder. God is truly good.

  100. Debbie December 9, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    that is awesome!

  101. Amanda December 9, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    I can’t find the right words – just heart-warming.

  102. Megan December 9, 2011 at 6:57 am #

    After reading depressing thing after depressing thing on the news this morning, to be able to see that little star was a tiny promise of good. :)

  103. beth December 9, 2011 at 6:17 am #

    Oh, that is so very sweet. I love when they show us how they understand without even speaking.

  104. Brenda Weaver December 9, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    oh my goodness! that’s So cute! Brought tears to my eyes! Your son has the right idea!

  105. Melissa M. December 9, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    Wow, that brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for the reminder this morning to slow down and celebrate our Jesus.

  106. Shelley December 9, 2011 at 5:40 am #

    Oh my! That totally brings happy, sweet tears to my eyes :)

  107. Ktez December 9, 2011 at 5:40 am #

    He obviously gets his creativity from his mum going by how he staged the scene!! How lovely of him to think about the star etc x

  108. Kelly in Georgia December 9, 2011 at 5:29 am #

    Oh girl, that was precious!! What a wonderful story to share.

  109. LauraLee December 9, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    Thanks for sharing that — I got all teared up — He seems to know what Christmas is truly about – Jesus!

  110. Katie @ Wildwood Creek December 9, 2011 at 5:16 am #

    What a precious moment! Thanks for sharing the reason for the season. Blessings to you and yours.

  111. Andrea December 9, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    Looks like you are teaching him well. In this crazy world we live in, it’s so nice to see others celebrating the true meaning of CHRISTmas. Lovely post!

  112. Kacey @ Shes.No.Martha December 9, 2011 at 5:13 am #

    Oh my goodness — that made my day. That is so wonderful and encouraging!

  113. Dorothy at Belle of the Kitchen December 9, 2011 at 5:11 am #

    This is absolutely precious. What a blessing that he understands at such a young age!

Leave a Reply