Advent is an awesome time of traditions and rituals that all work together to prepare the way for the Savior to be born anew in our hearts. One of my favorite Advent traditions is the crib.
In my husband’s family as he was growing up and now in our family as our own kids are growing up, we place a little crib on our home shrine (prayer corner) during Advent. Ours is made of small branches that I collected from the ash tree in our back yard and then hot glued together manger-style. I went to the dollar store and bought a little baby doll that would fit in the crib. I found a scrap of material to wrap around him to act as swaddling clothes.
Of course, Baby Jesus isn’t in the crib during Advent. He’s tucked snuggly into a drawer to await Christmas Eve. Next to the crib is another little piece I made of sticks – smaller manger that holds a supply of cotton. During Advent, the crib slowly fills with tiny pieces of cotton, each representing a special Advent offering or prayer we’ve made. The idea is to make a nice, soft bed for our Lord to rest in after he’s born.
We’ve been doing this since the kids were little. They’re older now, but I still love doing it because it brings out the child in me. There’s something about stashing aside all my adult sophistication and bringing my simple little contributions to our Infant Lord that makes me feel like I am really part of the Nativity and opens my heart to the coming of Jesus on Christmas.