Advent Challenge – Day Two – Sacrifice Manger
So this is the tradition that I’ve been most excited about starting. I never did this growing up, but learned about it last Advent when Jennifer Fulweiler mentioned it in a post, that I haven’t been able to dig up again, so you will just have to take my word on it.
If you’re unfamiliar with this tradition this is how it works. You start off with an empty manger, and each family member performs good deeds or sacrifices and every time they do, they can place some hay or straw in the manger so that by Christmas, there is a nice soft bed for baby Jesus made up of everyone’s good deeds and sacrifices over the Advent season.
I really liked this idea for young kids because it’s so tangible, and is great for teaching them about preparing our hearts to receive Christ.
Some people have a larger manger that goes with their nativity set, but if you don’t, it is simple enough to make one. You can either use a small cardboard box, a wooden box, or as I did, an empty tissue box.
I didn’t actually have an empty tissue box, but like I said, I was really excited to do this, so now I just have a pile of facial tissue sitting on my desk.
First, I cut off the top of the box
Then I found some brown construction paper….well, grey-ish brown construction paper, and traced out the box sides
And with my kids help, we glued the sides on to the box.
Voilà! A manger! Please just use your imagination on this one.
I didn’t want to deal with the mess of hay, and I also didn’t know where to find any, so I bought a skein of thick yellow yarn and cut it into strands for the hay. Initially my plan was to go over everyone’s good deeds when we lit our Advent wreath, but since my kids are so young and I wanted to make it more exciting for them, every time they do something nice, or behave well (ie. listen to Mommy!), they get to put in a piece of “hay”. I plan on adding some of my own sacrifices as well. I’ll keep you all updated on how soft our bed is getting for Jesus as Advent progresses!
Another variation to this is putting a list of good deeds/sacrifices into a “manger” and each child picks one out at the beginning of the day and tries to do that thing. My kids are still too young for this, but here are some ideas:
1. Share with a sibling
2. Give up a favorite TV show
3. Write a Christmas card to a friend or family member
4. Help set the table
5. Make bed without being asked
The possibilities are endless!
If you want a more permanent manger, or are a craftier person than I, Catholic Icing has a great step-by-step on how to make a wooden manger along with a little Baby Jesus to go in it!
What else we did for Advent today: