My very, very favorite Christmas tradition of all is our annual Christmas Eve Nativity reenactment. I’ve done it every year of my life as far back as I can remember, and probably all the years before I can remember too. But that’s not why it’s my favorite. It is my favorite because gathering with family and friends to read Luke 2 and recount the birth of Jesus Christ touches my heart deeply.
It’s my favorite because watching young children learn this story by helping to tell it moves me.
It’s my favorite because the chaos and the laughter and the reverence and the awe all combine into a perfectly imperfect form of worship that is incomparable.
Growing up as the oldest of seven, I remember there were always plenty of actors for all the parts. When Jon and I celebrated Christmas away from our families for the first time, it was just the two of us, and our first born, who was a toddler at the time. We have done this with big groups of friends and family, and with just us. But the feeling is always the same.
We love to incorporate some beloved Christmas carols into the reading of Luke 2, and of course, add the passage from Matthew to include the Wise Men. Costumes are usually just towels, scarves, and bath robes. We keep it simple.
If you’re new to staging a family nativity reenactment, I’m sharing the document we use each year to help you get started. It includes the cast of characters (though you could just read it without actors, or have only one or two), the scripture passages, and the songs to be sung at appropriate times in the story. Grab your free document below!
This year, as we’ve focused so much on the story of Christ’s birth, I wanted to see how much my kids remembered about the story. Without warning or preparation, I sat them each down and asked them to tell me the story of the Nativity on camera. They did a beautiful job, and got MOST of the details right. Here’s their retelling.
Merry Christmás! May the story of Christ’s birth light your life this December and always.