It’s Sunday. Day 13 of my Creche Countdown.
Let’s take a peek at Baby Jesus through the eyes of a child. I’ve enjoyed having nativities over the years that my kids and now my grandkids can enjoy playing with to retell the Christmas story in their own kid-friendly terminology! Today I’ll share some of these favorites…like the Charlie Brown Christmas Play.
Lucy, Linus, and Pigpen are joining Snoopy and that crazy little yellow bird in portraying the Christmas story. Notice the little sign: “Christmas Play Today 4:00 PM.” Snoopy, complete with a curly hat and vest, is playing the part of a sheep. These little characters are made of soft plastic, with moveable arms and heads. Their head coverings can easily slip off and on. Pigpen holds an extra-long shepherd’s hook, or maybe that’s to pull uncooperative actors from the stage! I’m guessing these are still available, so try Amazon if you’re interested in one for the littles in your life. It’s been fun to watch my grandkids playing with this one over the years. Popping off the headgear to switch between characters. Setting up the little sign. Lights. Camera. Action! Let the play begin!Here’s a perfect ‘take-along’ nativity, My Pocket Nativity. The pocket and characters are made of felt (with embellishments), and each little actor is also a finger puppet. It’s easy to carry in your purse, pocket, or Bible or could be mailed if you’re a long-distance grandparent intent on sharing the Christmas story across the miles. My grands have entertained themselves with this quiet activity during church services. This next creche is not quite as kid-friendly but children love these guys with their sweet faces and colorful garments. So do I. Again, texture adds to ‘cuteness factor’ for me. Check out the feather on the red turban, tassels, ropes, wood-grained manger with straw, and my personal favorite – that little curly lamb. OMGoodness, how cute is he? Love their eyes. Their tiny noses, and their mouths! These 3″ tall figures are solid (as opposed to being hollow) so they’re less fragile than some and perfectly suited for chubby little hands to hold and love. I’m definitely a fan of this creche.
This stuffed nativity has been played with over and over at Gramma’s house! Great for toddlers, but because the characters are finger puppets, it entertains older ones who want to retell the Christmas story. I can’t remember where I got this, but it’s been around for years. The stable unfolds (velcro closes it) to a large grassy area. All sides and ends of the stable feature bright colorful scenes. A side gate opens to show shepherds and sheep inside printed on the fabric. An angel (with velcro) attaches to a pole of the stable, once opened up for play. Straw on the rooftop lifts and with the push of a button, Silent Night rings out with the tinny sound of those little musical inserts. My grandkids have loved this creche which normally sits underneath the tree for them to play with whenever they come. There’s even a little wordless book with scenes depicted on its eight soft and cushy pages. It has its own little pocket on the side of the stable. The entire set is completely washable and completely adorable for little ones. So much fun!
I love olive wood, as I mentioned in an earlier Countdown post. The olive tree is considered God’s perfect tree; small and thin branches when young. Not so much, when old. I love the diversity in the grain of this wood. I also love the history and significance of the olive tree. When I was in Jerusalem at the Garden of Gethsemane, I saw eight olive trees. Their knarled and awkward shaped trunks and branches appeared as proud and mighty warriors inside an area protected by a short metal fence. In 70 AD, these (and other) olive trees were desecrated; cut down at the hands of Titus BUT some grew back from the remaining stumps. These eight trees were there in Biblical times. How cool is that?
I bought these next two ornaments of creches while I was in Bethlehem. They’re meaningful and memorable!
According to Dictionary.com, a creche is a “small or large modeled representation or tableau of Mary, Joseph, and others around the crib of Jesus in the stable in Bethlehem…” Thought I’d clarify that, as some of you may question what I include in my Creche Countdown. I’ll admit I’m stretching the definition a bit in these last two pictures, but if Baby Jesus is the center of attention, it’s a creche I include in my countdown, even if Mary and Joseph are nowhere to be found.
I seriously love these images of Santa worshipping Baby Jesus. When I first saw them – maybe twenty years ago – I bought three. One for Jim and I, one for Shawna, and one for Travis. They’re ornaments, but I cut off the hanger on mine to display it on the base.
The second Santa is a Jim Shore ornament. I simply LOVE Jim Shore. I don’t have anything of his except for this Santa, but I love his work. Do you, too?
These Santas have a powerful, monumental message to tell. Santa Claus, this oft-celebrated Christmas character, worshipping the Christ Child as if to say “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!” And,…He is.