As these beautiful fall days increase, I have found myself singing, of all things, a verse from On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist Cry” (Hymnal 1982, 76): Then cleansed be every breast from sin, make straight the way of God within. Let every heart prepare a home where such a mighty guest may come.”
It is never too early to get ready for Advent and Christmas –the Christmas decorations will be in the stores the day after Halloween. I have been doing a lot of thinking about how we can help our families “prepare a home where such a mighty guest may come.” Even in a culture as secular as ours, the basics of the Christmas story are known and familiar. It’s a great place to begin helping the parents of our congregations become faith formers at home.
The Godly Play story of the Holy Family begins by telling the children that often when they see a nativity set, “it is not for them.” While many of us have classrooms where the figures of the Christmas story are meant for children to play with, most homes do have a child-friendly nativity set. But this is easy to remedy with the wealth of easy nativity crafts available on the internet.
This year on the Sunday before Advent begins (November 24th), we are inviting children and parents to come right after worship to make nativity sets. We will have on hand materials to make a family-friendly nativity set that families can take home with them and children can play with as they work with the story of the Holy Family. The Godly Play Winter Parent Pages will go home with each family so that parents feel confident telling and re-telling the story to their children – and experience the delight of having their children tell them the story.
Take a few minutes and browse the internet to find easy nativity projects to make and start collecting the materials you will need to make them now. Here are a few sites to get you started:
- Printable Nativity Set from Catholic Icing
- Silhouette Nativity Printables from Under My Polka Dot Umbrella
- A Clothes Pin Nativity Set from All Play on Sunday
Be sure to take lots of pictures during the nativity making! And have fun helping your families make “a home where such a mighty guest may come!”
What plans do you have to help families prepare for the birth of Christ?
© 2013. Dr. Elizabeth L. Windsor is the Director of Christian Education at Sudbury United Methodist Church in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Christian formation throughout the life cycle is both her profession and her passion. Elizabeth has recently been appointed as the Christian Education Resource Assistant to the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and develops and facilitates on-line programming for United Methodist Communications.