Christmas mangers - a glorious Christmas tradition and a marvellous pastime
What is a nativity set?
A nativity set is an installation depicting the coming of Christ into the world in the Bethlehem cave. It is also our window on the miracle of Christmas that comes to every home.
Assembling a nativity set is a beautiful tradition observed by the Orthodox in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. It is the moment everyone is waiting for and an exciting time for young children. Children and adults arrange the figures of the Holy Family the Magi, angels and the animals. In the process, adults become like children, ready to open their hearts to Christ. One can almost see the star of Bethlehem rise above them.
During the Christmas season, nativity scenes also appear outside the Orthodox churches. Believers dig a niche in the snow, put some fir branches in it, make a manger and place the Icon of the Nativity of Christ inside.
Many types of tabletop nativity sets
Almost all nativity sets are handmade. The workshops of Saint Elisabeth Convent also make a large variety of sets, and no two products are alike. Materials range from wood to glass and ceramics. I especially want to highlight the wooden nativity sets.
Cut-out nativity scenes are made of wood, and painted in the Slavic tradition. The viewer will be impressed at the scene of Joseph and Mary standing at the manger watching the baby Christ as He sleeps. The folding Christmas manger is another common type. It has the figures of all the people, angels and animals who welcomed Christ into the world. The figures in some variants come with laser-printed images. You can put them on your Christmas dinner table, the Christmas tree, or your living room wall. Some nativity scenes - shaped as candle trays - are made of stained glass with hand-painted figures. The light from the candles - placed safely on a glass tray - adds mystery to the scene.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Every person is different, and likewise every nativity set is unique. But each brings to our homes the atmosphere of the glorious Christmas night.
An exciting gift idea
Christmas is the time for joy and presents. If there is still no tradition in your family to assemble a nativity set, this Christmas season might be a good time to start. If you have made up your mind, visit our online catalogue and choose the nativity scene that suits you best. There is an extensive collection to choose from - for your home, church, family, friends and kin.