Sunday, December 02, 2007

Nativity Scene

It has become a tradition for us to assemble our nativity scene after Mass on the First Sunday of Advent. Today this was an even greater treat since we attended the first latin mass celebrated at St. Peter's Church in Merchantville in 40 years! It was beautifully done and a great way to start off a new year in the Church.

Here is a long view of the entire scene. It takes up an entire wall of our dining room. In the far corner is the stable and actual scene of the nativity, in the middle is valley and pasture land, and at the left side (closest to you) is the desert.

Another full view...different angle.

In the desert we find the wisemen and the Roman soldiers giving the proclamation of the census. On the right in the back is the textile shop and in front you can see half of the well.

The middle back is a kitchen and just some random bystanders :)

Here on the right we have the stable and next to it is the poultry house. We pretend the guy who owns the poultry house owns the stable LOL..Under the little nook to the left we are proud to introduce our newest addition...a CAVE!! We were so excited to be able to engineer this little cave. We have always wanted one somehow but just couldn't figure out the best way to do it. So we love the cave :)

But the question was...who lived in the cave? We tried some of the figures....not quite. So Jamie says "We need someone rugged looking." So, we pulled one of the zampognari (the pipers) and one of them was wearing goatskin pants! Yeah. That's the cave dweller.

Coming down from the side of the stable is a stream (which really looks like water doesn't it??!? We were pretty impressed ourselves). There are three bridges crossing the stream and a pond at the end. All the way to the right you can see a part of the pottery shop.

Just another view. If you look closely right up front here on the little bridge crossing the bottom of the stream there is a turtle. You may not know this but turtles were abundant in Bethlehem ;)

And there you have it! Whenever we put this up I wish we could leave it all year.

What sort of scenes/decorations do you put up for advent and Christmas?


Donna said...

Wow Jamie - That is impressive! Enjoy it now - once that little boy is toddling around it may just be like Godzilla on Tokyo!

Jamie Carin and Claudio Romano said...


And I am sure we will manage when Benjamin is here. It is certainly a tradition we will continue with him.

Jane (a.k.a. patjrsmom) said...

That is quite a set-up! We have the same set I think, Fontaninni? My mother gave us the Holy Family when we were first married and each year after, on Christmas morning, a new piece is set out by *Santa* (who, incidentally, also places the baby Jesus in the manger). As we've celebrated 15 Christmases together as a married couple, our set is not nearly as extensive, however. I love the span of the landscape in yours. Our wise men from the East are set far off in the distance and will begin their journey toward our stable on Christmas Day, arriving on Epiphany. And, just last night, my daughter Brigid very seriously said, "Mom, I'm moving Mary and Joseph to the other side of the room to begin their journey. You do know that they aren't there yet, don't you?" Thus, a new tradition in our household has been born!

Thank you for sharing this. It is such a beautiful, tangible representation of the Christmas story re-told.


BTW, had you ever been to a TLM before yesterday? They are going to begin offering one at our parish on Epiphany and I've not ever been. Was it difficult to follow along or were there any *rules* that are different from the NO Mass?


Jamie Carin and Claudio Romano said...

Dear Jane,

Yes it is Fontinini mixed with some very old Italian pieces...the Holy Family for example are from my inlaws family and came from Italy. My husband has set up this scene in some form since he was a child and his family would collect new pieces. When we got married my inlaws very generously gave us their entire set and they have bought us new pieces every year or so.

We move our wisemen little by little once Christmas comes too, but I think your daughter has a great idea about starting with Mary and Joseph moving along the scene as well. I think we will do that next year! Please thank her for her great idea!!

This was not our first latin mass. I converted about 7.5 years ago and have always gone to the latin mass (even before converting). I was baptized and confirmed in the old rite and we were married in the old rite. Our home parish is Mater Ecclesiae a full time diocesan traditional parish in NJ. The Mass we went to this Sunday was a new Latin Mass just started (and it is closer to our house thankfully!) and we have been attending their Novus Ordo mass for the last several months there too (it is such a beautiful parish..regardless of what Mass they are saying).

So to be honest I find the NO far more confusing than the Latin Mass since that is what I learned. But I know a lot of people do have trouble following it at first. Will they provide missals to use? I definitely recommend going...even if you don't completely follow every moment just pray along as you can.

As for rules...there is no communion in the hand and communion is received kneeling and on the tongue. There are no Eucharistic Ministers and no female alter servers.

If you want more info I can dig up some resources for you or just tell you what to expect in more detail. E mail me if you are interested.

God Bless

bethalice said...

Love the set up and the commentary! By the way, I fiiiinnnnaalllly updated my blog. Sorry dear Queen!

Jamie Carin and Claudio Romano said...


Well its about time!!!!! ;)

Jane (a.k.a. patjrsmom) said...

Thank you for all the info. I think we may try to go, but do you think that it is too prayerful that my brood (particularly the 20 month old) may be a major distraction? He is generally able to make it through the NO Mass, but he's not silent...

As for the church, I *think* they are providing missals and our pastor reminded people about the rules for communion. Actually, that is how my girls received their First Holy Communion last year (kneeling at the altar and on the tongue) and he encourages people to do the same if they are comfortable.

Thank you for the information. I'd love to hear any more stories that you have to share about it.

God Bless,

Heather - Doodle Acres said...


Claudio Salvucci said...


I might be of better help than Jamie, because I went to the Novus Ordo for many years before going traditional.

I gotta say, my first Latin Mass was confusing more than anything! I didn't realize that the priest was going on with the Mass while the schola was singing and that some parts were quiet. So I'd be patiently expecting the next prayers out loud and suddenly the priest would be four pages ahead of me LOL. Most people are probably not as wifty as I am, so you'll probably be fine.

There's more standing and sitting and kneeling, and a few genuflections in the pew, but for those you can just follow everybody else. Most women wear chapel veils.

I feel singularly unqualified to answer your question about the 20-month old though! ;)

Jamie Carin and Claudio Romano said...

Dear Jane,

I just got your comment (apparently blogger is having a "moment" and not sending alerts for posts).

There is one MAJOR characteristic of EVERY Latin Mass I have ever been to....HUGE Catholic families with HEAPS of kids...heaps of LITTLE kids. So a slightly rowdy 20 month old I don't think would be an issue. I am sure you know when it is appropriate to take him out etc. But the baby is certainly as welcome at a Latin Mass as he is at an English Mass.

Also I will assume they are not having a low mass (which is very music really and LOTS of silence). So I do not think it will be too prayerful. Even if the priest's prayers are silent the choir will be either chanting or singing and maybe that will either sufficiently distract your little one OR better yet lull him to sleep LOL. Also there is a lot of action on the altar to watch.

And Claud can give you more insights if you have more questions (he is my husband he posted on this thread to you). As he said he was confused at his first latin mass...and he knows Latin. But I also think it is a fairly short learning curve. People tend to catch on quickly.

Hope that helps a little!

Jane (a.k.a. patjrsmom) said...

Thank you Claud and Jamie,
That is very helpful information. I think my husband and I may try to go alone first and scope out the situation then decide if it is a good idea to bring in the troops...a little "recon" if you will. ;-)


catherine said...

This is beautiful - something I would love to add for ourselves next year. Thank you and God Bless!

Lisa said...

This is awesome! I'm sorry I missed peeking in during the Christmas season! But, this is right up our alley, as we have quite the big todo, and start the same day as you do!