Monday, December 15, 2014

Thoughts on making Nativities

I have made a couple of Nativity scenes and will probably continue to make them.  I probably think too much and over analyze things.  Although this is not a religious blog, I would like to share some of the things that go through my mind and challenges I face with each scene.  It starts with the pattern.  In my life this event has great importance.  The birth of our Savior had been prophesied for melenia prior to his birth.  I choose patterns that I feel will portray the significance of this sacred event.  Here are the parts of the nativity from the easiest to cut to the hardest (It does not matter the pattern or set).
  • Star -  This little aspect of the Nativity scene guided the Wise men to the baby Jesus.  Honestly the artistic stars look better than the large balls of burning gas.
  • Camel - Not ever sure if there was a camel in the nativity, but I am sure that the Wise men had to ride of something.  Granted these Wise men came some time after the birth of Christ. 
  • Stable - This is a structure and could be made in several different ways.  At the time it was for animals full of imperfections and probably just barely standing.  Yes it did protect the Baby from the elements.  It was a temporary place. 
  • Angel(s) - Not sure where the angel comes from in the scene.  If it is the scriptural account, they should be with the shepherds.  I guess there were angels present in the stable where they are commonly placed.  These angelic figures are represented incorrectly with wings, so I figure they must have some sense of humor or be used to being made with wings.  If you wonder where I get my idea of angels don't have wings; I firmly believe that we are created in the image of God and his children.  He doesn't have wings.  We will also be resurrected to our perfect selves.  I am pretty sure I never had wings.  I apologize to all the angels out there.
  • Wise men - They provided a valuable testimony of the birth of our Savior.  They did travel a great distance and watched and waited for the sign of His birth to appear.  They knew of His importance before He was even born.  They were men of importance and I expect they were humble enough to know that if I messed up, they would understand.
  • Sheep - My guess is there was sheep in the stable.  They were very common and used as sacrifice in that time.  The lamb was a used several times in the Master's teachings and was a representation of Him when sacrificed.  The lamb needed to be white and without blemish.  I feel I have saved the sheep I make from sacrifice because there are definitely blemishes on them.
  • Donkey - This beast of burden carried the mother of Jesus while she was nine months pregnant.  First of all, what and honor for the donkey to be given such a responsibility.  Secondly, I have to wonder if the donkey knew who he was carrying and took extra care and tried to make the journey a little easier.  
  • Shepherd - Probably the lowest in rank and privilege and stature that saw the baby Jesus,  but one of the more remarkable.  Angels came to them to announce the Saviors birth.  They went immediately to see and then proclaimed it through out the area what they had witnessed.  I also have to reflect on the role of the Savior as the true shepherd.  His shoes worn walking in front of his herd, constantly looking for and working about the lost sheep and always to ready to help when the need arises. 
  • Joseph -  I realize that he would be Christ's step father, but the responsibility he bore was heavy.  He could have condemned Mary, been judgmental and not shown as much care to Jesus because he was "technically" not his son.  He taught Him a trade and brought Him up as his own.  Even though there is not much written about Joseph, I am sure he was a great father.  He did help raise the Savior of the world.  I may be putting him in the place where I put myself in my family and he may have felt the same.
  • Jesus - He is not the hardest to cut.  Although perfect in every aspect in life, I know that he will forgive no matter how small or grievous of sin in that I make.  I can slip up and cut where I am not supposed to and I know that he know that I have tried my best.  He is usually the smallest part of the nativity but the biggest part in our lives.
  • Mary - I feel there is a special place in hell for those who belittles, offends, mocks or degrades our mothers.  I know that our Savior held his mother in the same respect.  He proved this while hanging on the cross.  Even when dying he made sure his mother was taken care of.  She will always be cut with a new blade and will usually be the last one to be cut out.
Yes, this is what goes through my head with each nativity that I make.  It does not matter if I am making one or several.  Each piece has an important part in the story.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to recreate this remarkable event in history.

If you are wondering what my favorite nativity made is, it is the Alien nativity.  First wood nativity I did.  I failed the first time because I was not experienced on the scroll saw.  I needed a little dose of humility before I could attempt to make it.  I spent two years making puzzles to get accustomed to the scroll saw and gain the confidence to make it.  The pieces are vary much imperfect and several mistakes.  Some of the pieces do not even fit together.  However, through time and patience the scene was complete and I am proud of it.  The second favorite may be a surprise.  It was made before I even started in by wood working hobby.  I don't know if I was even out of grade school at the time.  It is not pictured here and probably will not.  It was made out of plastic canvas.  It is not made well and all parts have glaring mistakes. I was young and it is the first nativity that I did on my own.

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