When I was little, our manger had a baby Christ that you could remove. My parents would not put Him in the manger until Christmas morning. We loved looking at the manger and would check it every day until Christmas to see if Jesus arrived. Throughout December our minds were thinking about Christ’s birthday and helped us build anticipation for His birth. We would always looked at the manger first before our presents, which also brought our minds back to the true meaning of Christmas.
One of my favorite quotes and the inspiration to writing my books is from Colossians 3:1-4. It says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” This quote is very powerful, especially when we talk about Christmas, because there’s so much talk about Santa and presents in the world. The whole reason there is a Christmas holiday is because of Christ.
One way that I wanted my kids to focus on Christ is to have a visual in their rooms of the Nativity. Of course they have lots of icons in their rooms but I wanted it to be something that they made and something that they could focus on as they drifted off to sleep on Christmas Eve. We made a Nativity Nightlight! Kids love things that light up and this craft is fun for preschoolers through elementary age kiddos. The older the kids, the more fancy you can make it with decorations.
- Styrofoam cup (larger size is best), could also use a paper cup as long as the inside is white. Plastic cups won’t work because after cutting the edges are very sharp.
- Icon prints from old cards or magazines of the Nativity or print some from online
- Glue stick or Glue Dots
- Small white paper plate
- Battery operated tea light from the dollar store
- Optional: Sticker gems, aluminum foil
Before presenting this activity to the kids, cut out a hole in the cup. I used a small searated knife and sawed the hole. It was easier for me to do it this way instead of using scissors, but you will find what works best for you.
To make it the proper size I put the icon on my cup and marked the left and right sides so I knew the width that I wanted. I cut a triangular shape.
Make sure you do not cut off the rim of the cup, because you will need this to keep it sturdy.
You will also need to make an “X” on what would be the bottom of the cup/top of the nightlight. This is where you’ll insert the tea light.
1. Have your child cut out an image of the Nativity, if they know how to cut. Then cut the hole in the cup, using the cutout as a guide for the size of the hole.
2. Glue the image of the Nativity into the cup. I tried to line mine up with the rim to make sure you could see it through the hole I cut out.
3. Add some decorations. I used star gem stickers to decorate the outside. I had some snowflake sticker gems and used that with a star sticker on top to make a big star above the manger. If you do this you could talk about the great star that appeared when Christ was born and guided people to Him.
4. Glue the cup onto a white paper plate. (Note: This will help reflect the light when you put the tea light in. When I had it just by itself it wasn’t very bright. If you don’t have a plain white plate, you can cover it with aluminum foil to reflect the light.)
5. Carefully insert the “flame” part of the tea light into the “x.” It should be fairly secure, if the X is not too big.
6. Enjoy your nightlight and dream about the Nativity of Christ! If you try this craft, post your pics on my Facebook page so I can see them!! 🙂 http://www.facebook.com/RaisingOrthodoxChristians