This Christmas meditation craft manger scene idea shows you how to add hand crafted items to your nativity scene to tell the broader story of Jesus from the New and Old Testament Scriptures.  This Christmas meditation craft idea is low cost because it uses items found in nature and simple household materials.      

After you watch the video, read on for more detailed instructions and ideas below.

Christmas Meditation Craft Idea Manger Scene Video

Step 1: Decide what objects you want to make and meditate on the Scriptures they represent

I chose to make a stable from scratch for my Christmas meditation craft manger scene, but you may already have a stable and figurines that you want to add a few more elements to bring in the story of Jesus’ mission here on earth.

I made each object as a freestanding piece mounted on a rock or a piece of cardboard so I could arrange them around the stable based on the size of the table on which it was displayed. 

Items you might want to make:

A sheep pen made out of twigs and shavings

Trees and bushes to make it look like an outdoor scene and to celebrate the goodness of God’s creation.

Firewood bundle to symbolize the Old Testament sacrificial offerings for our sins.  (See Leviticus chapters 1-4)

Stone tablets to symbolize the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses that Jesus came to fulfill.  (Exodus 32:15,16)  

Star of David to symbolize how God’s promised Messiah would come through the royal line of David of Israel.  (Romans 1:2-4)

A ladder to symbolize Jacob’s vision of a ladder to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it.  When Jacob awoke he said, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it.”  It reminds us of the times when we have felt God’s presence in strong ways in places of sanctuary.  (Genesis 28:10-17)

Mini Basket to symbolize the miracle of the loaves and fishes where 5,000 were fed and 12 baskets of pieces were gathered when all had eaten their fill.  (Matthew 14:15-21)   

Grains of wheat to symbolize Jesus as the bread of life (John 6:35) and the Last Supper where Jesus told us the bread symbolized his body broken for us.  (Luke 22:19)   

Small shell to symbolize baptism. (Matthew 29:19)

Bird nest to symbolize Christ’s earthly humility and poverty when he said “Foxes have holes and birds have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  (Matthew 8:20)   

Rock to symbolize the rock that was rolled away from the tomb when he rose from the dead.  (Matthew 28:2)  A larger rock symbolizes God as our protector and shelter.  (Psalm 18:2)

Vine to symbolize Jesus telling us that He is the vine and we are the branches and apart from him we can do nothing but with him, we can bear fruit.  (John 15:5)

Cross to symbolize Christ’s sacrificial death to save all who believe in him.  (Matthew 27:32-35)

Well to symbolize Christ who tells all who are thirsty to come to him for drink and that all who come to him will have streams of life-giving water flowing from within them.  (John 7:37-38)  It can also symbolize the Samaritan woman Jesus met at the well who was a sinner who believed in Jesus and brought others to meet faith in him.  (John 4:7-42)

Well made out of rocks with bucket made from a nut shell. I let the glue overflow to show water pouring out like streams of life giving water.

Dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit, both in the Baptism of Jesus and also the Baptism of the Holy Spirit of all believers that includes us in the Christmas story. (John 1:32-34 and John 14:15-17)

Dove made out of feathers pulled from a pillow.

Sheep pen and gate symbolizes Jesus as the good shepherd and Jesus as the gate to the sheep pen that we enter through to be saved.  (John 10:7)

Step 2: Gather materials and tools from your home or buy items for your Christmas Meditation Craft Manger Scene

Nativity figures.  I purchased a set at a local hobby supply store.  I chose ones that were more rustic looking since my stable was going to be homemade from sticks. 

Cardboard.  You will need a piece of sturdy cardboard cut to the size you want for a base for whatever you have decided to build.  For the base of my stable I used a piece I cut from cardboard that used to hold a bolt of fabric.  I used smaller pieces of cardboard to form a base for my well and the sheep pen.

Figure of Mary purchased at a hobby store. The sticks were laid log cabin style to make the stable.

Glue.  I used a hot glue gun.  Since hot glue can burn your fingers, I used a twig to push the things in place I was trying to glue.

Clippers, scissors, pliers or wire cutters.  I used garden loppers to cut the thicker sticks and scissors for the smaller ones.    

Twine or florist wire.  I used twine to make a sheep pen gate that would open and close, a rope for the well etc.

Step 3.  Meditate While Gathering the Natural Materials  

Gathering the natural materials can be an amazing way to meditate and connect with God.  I gathered natural materials over several days as I thought of more items I wanted to add to my Christmas meditation craft manger scene.   I enjoyed quiet moments of having my mind focused on the Scripture I wanted to symbolize and God’s beautiful creation.  I slowed down and marveled at God’s handiwork in the intricacy of lichen or the abundance of fallen nuts.    I also conversed silently with God such as asking for help in finding some of the harder to find items like flat stones for the stone tablets.   

A branch of small cones from a fir tree makes a tree

Here are some items you might consider using and tips on how to work with them:

Twigs, pine cones, seed pods.  Use bare branches or twigs as trees in the manger scene.  You can also use pine cones as small fir trees or magnolia seed pods.  I found dry fir branches with tiny seek pods on them that look like blooming trees and bushes. 

To make twig trees stand up on I found a fist sized rock with a flat bottom and glued the tree to the back of it.  I also glued two big sticks together while wedging a twig tree between them to make a tree stand up.  Because they are each on their own base, they can be placed wherever you want

Rocks:  I found that I could use a number of different size rocks.  The bigger ones looked like boulders in my manger scene and reminded me of the rocky terrain in Israel.  The smaller ones could be scattered around the scene or made into a fire ring or well. 

Since the ground in the woods was covered in a fresh layer of fallen leaves, I had to search a little harder for smaller rocks.  I looked in a small dry gully where water had eroded away the dirt to find pebbles.  I also looked on the roadside and in a creek. 

Sticks and vines: Since sticks were my basic building materials for my stable and the sheep pen, I searched after a windstorm to find a good supply of straight sticks in the width and length I needed.  I also rummaged through a garden refuse pile in our yard where we discard pruned branches from our bushes. 

A word of caution: make sure that you’re not clipping a bare vine that could be dormant poison ivy!  Best to  stay away from anything that has hairy looking brown aerial roots.     

Nuts, lichen, small dried plants, moss and seeds.  I really like to use lichen as plants and flowers growing around my stable or other trees.  I found some interesting lichen on dead branches that had fallen from our pine trees.  Don’t overlook nuts and broken nut shells and tiny seeds from fir trees or weeds. 

When using natural items, if you want to be sure you don’t bring in any tiny unwanted bugs, I put my items in a ziplock bag and heated it in a microwave for 30-60 seconds until it got hot enough to kill any critters.

Wood chips.  These are good for covering up your cardboard base so it will look more like a barnyard.  You can also use bits of straw, crumbled dry leaves etc.

Feathers.  I needed feathers to make my dove.  I had a feather pillow where the tiny quills often poke their way through the fabric.  I pulled out several feathers through the fabric.  Then I used a small twig to make the body of my bird and then glued the feathers on and used a thin wire to hang it from the top of the stable. 

Step 4: Use your Christmas meditation craft manger scene to meditate and share with others.

After you’ve created your Christmas meditation craft nativity scene and have it displayed, print out the Bible verses that correspond to the items you have made.  You can focus on one or more verses at a time and think more deeply about their meaning.

You can display this sheet with your manger scene so others can discover your hidden Biblical messages.  Or you can challenge others to find reminders of as many Bible verses as they can in your scene.

This Christmas meditation craft manger idea can also be used in church or prayer groups.  Members can work together to make the scene, or you can use a scene you have already made for group meditation and a time of sharing what each person has discovered.

I learned that creating a Christmas meditation craft manger scene is a wonderful way to connect with God as you allow the Holy Spirit to show you the beauty of nature, His presence in the world and the thousands of ways that the story of Jesus goes beyond the story of a simple baby in a manger. 

Other helpful articles

Creating a Christmas prayer focal point

Creating a peace of Jerusalem tree

How to meditate in nature

How to meditate using art

Copyright Karen Barber 2020.  All rights reserved.