The nativity story

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Establish family traditions with Christmas themed storytime
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Here are unique ways to share the story of the nativity with children

On Christmas eve, when I was a very young girl, my sisters and I would get all dolled up in our "Christmas dresses" and pile into the family car to attend our church Christmas pageant. Besides the beautiful music and wonderful decor, I remember the meticulously detailed nativity scene my church had set up on their front lawn. The nativity story, in my opinion, is the original Christmas story and it fascinated me as a child. The gorgeous scene my church set up every holiday season was meticulously detailed and conveyed the warmth and majesty most people associate with Christmas.

Every Christmas eve, I sat at the church pageant and as the lights dimmed, an actor dressed as an angel took to the stage under a single spotlight and they eloquently explained the birth of Jesus Christ and the coming of the Magi. I didn't fully appreciate that display until I was much older.

Although the nativity story is very easy for adults to grasp, you want to make sure that the lessons in the story are easily understood by the younger members of your family. Getting a child to sit still on Christmas Eve may be a task within itself, so here are some great tips that will help you tell the nativity story to the little ones in your family:

- Keeping the kids interested is the first and most difficult task if you're attempting to tell them a story. Start by sitting everyone down in a comfortable area, preferably by the Christmas tree or near the fireplace. Ensure the kids stay calm by offering treats or rewards for staying quiet during story time.

- Now may not be the best time to read directly from your King James version bible. Put the nativity story in layman's terms and tell the story in a way kids of today will understand. Referring to baby Jesus multiple times can help very young children relate to the story and keep them interested.

- Be lenient and allow a few interruptions for questions and input from little ones. Not only does this get them more involved in the story, it shows you that they're listening and showing interest.

- If you're truly adventurous and there are a lot of children in your family, you can try a live nativity scene. This will allow kids to actually act out the parts in the nativity. Use neutral colored sheets and rope as biblical costumes and narrate as you're directing. (For example: "And the wise men presented gifts to Emanuel")

- You've probably seen your kids playing with dolls or action figures. These toys can keep them entertained for hours. Those same nativity figurines that have been used for decorations in your home can now be used to help explain the most important Christmas story of all. If your figurines are too delicate to move around, consider purchasing new, more durable nativity figures.

With these fun and easy tips, you can ensure that telling the nativity story will be a fun and warm tradition that children and adults in your family will look forward to each year.

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