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How to setup a nativity set

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Setting up a nativity scene can be part of the Christmas preparations in your house and can help focus on the original meaning of Christmas. A nativity set usually comes with a stable and several figures to illustrate the Christmas story. You can show all the figures at once or gradually add them as the Christmas story unfolds over time.
What you'll need: 
A stable
Mary and Joseph
A manger and baby Jesus
An ox and donkey
Shepherds with their sheep
Three wise men bearing gifts
An angel (optional)
Begin your set up by placing the manger at the centre of the stable. Before Christmas Eve you can choose to leave it empty until the arrival of baby Jesus on Christmas Day, or you can include it from the start.
Either side of the manger will be Mary and Joseph. Mary may be a little closer to the manger than Joseph.
Behind the family and slightly to either side of Mary and Joseph, the ox and donkey stand looking on quietly.
The shepherds were the first visitors to the stable, according to the bible. You can show them just outside the stable, or just inside facing towards the manger.
If you have an angel, he may go near the shepherds representing him as the messenger who spoke to the shepherds, or in a place overseeing the nativity scene.
The wise men's visit is celebrated traditionally on 6th January. You can represent this in the nativity be showing them further away from the scene and may be move them a little nearer as time progresses. Otherwise, simply place them a little further away from the stable, than the shepherds.
When my children were young they made a star made from tinsel to go over the stable, which I still use today.
There are no strict rules as to how your nativity should be displayed. It is more important that you place the figures in the way that you can enjoy its meaning.
Remind yourself of the Christmas story by reading a book or on the Bible.


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