I love setting up the crèche in early December with only the animals and shepherds. We use rosemary and thyme clippings plus some holly branches and evergreens from our yard to create a stable effect. Mary and Joseph are nowhere near the manger. They either hide out of sight until Christmas or make a daily journey closer and closer to the manger. The kings and camels start their trek to the manger from distance places in our house on Christmas Day and arrive on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany.
Paul Canavese on The Pastoral Center Blog shares his family’s experience of waking up every morning during Advent and finding the animals had gotten into a bunch of mischief during the night. His slide show on the site shows the hilarious “Crèchember” antics of the crèche creatures–also a playful idea to use with children (and maybe adults, too). Who knew that sheep, cows, and donkeys could wreak havoc with newspapers and poinsettias, exercise, play board games, and empty the dishwasher? Take a look.
The website also has other Advent resources for families and churches:
- free “Coaching Parents for Advent” guide for church leaders
- Simply Advent handouts/bulletin inserts
- Message series adapted from Advent Conspiracy