CREATING NATIVITY SCENES
Sometimes I have been asked for construction kits, for construction manuals, or for ‘blueprints’ for my nativity scenes.
You may find appropriate publications that demonstrate the technique of making up nativity scenes on the internet or in bookshops with a well assorted range of books.
In creating my own nativity scenes I am following a different path. Except for the motto for the respective scene there is neither draft nor plan.
So come along with me on my path. It will presumably be somewhat difficult in the beginning, but it will give you a great benefit in the end.
The background of a nativity scene
You want to design a nativity scene. This will not be a model railway set, nor a doll’s house, nor a toy stable for your children to play with, but just – a nativity scene.
For a start, read the Christmas reports in the four gospels of the New Testament. And, perhaps, the report on the creation of the world as well.
Search the internet or look in literature for statements and pictures of Israel: Bethlehem (the fields of the shepherds), Jerusalem (the city) …
The reality of a nativity scene
Watch the people in your neighbourhood, the way they talk, their attitudes. Talk to them about “Christmas”.
Go into stables with horses, cows, goats, sheep, etc. Deliberately take up your environment. Watch the animals and talk to them!
Carefully examine the buildings in your closer our your more distant environments. The ancient church or the old castle. The farmhouse and the barn. The art of the builders and craftsmen of the past – the cutting and fitting together of the stones, the erecting of the frame and the roof truss, …
Go into nature, into the fields, into the woods, into the mountains, to the river, into the quarry, etc. Enjoy God’s creation.
The collecting of the materials for and the construction of a nativity scene
On your excursions you have probably collected a lot of stuff for your nativity scene. You may need a base plate from a do-it-yourself store, a few fruit box slats from a grocer’s shop, or something similar.
But don’t you start just a week before Christmas!
And then buy some (good) nativity figurines. For a start, the “Holy Family” will do. Consider that the size of the figurines also determines the proportions of the scene (size of room, door windows). And keep in mind that you may want to buy additional figurines some time in the future.
And now, above all, gather your thoughts on what you have read, heard, and seen. And on what your nativity scene is meant to express.
Remember the nativity scenes in the places you have visited. What would it be like, if this God of Israel today in his son – Jesus – came into your town, to your neighbours, to your colleagues, to you?
Forget all drafts for nativity scenes.
Yes, and then make a first layout. Display the items in a way the nativity scene is supposed to look like. Try and find out how you could arrange the individual items. And now simply begin to build. For this is now going to be your nativity scene – your encounter with the CHILD.