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Using Nativity Figures to Give Kids Christian Values

Christmas is wonderful time to do crafts together with the children. Take it a step further craft together the story of Jesus.

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

Nativity sets, with each Nativity figure, add a festive look during Christmas and help us refocus on the reason for the season. They also provide a storytelling tool. This year let’s go deeper and explore all who surrounded Jesus at His birth to help children understand the Christian values that each figure in the sets show us. You can extend the conversation about the people and values, to activities to reinforce the concepts, while engaging in fun.

Start with associating a simple value and symbol with each figure.


Angels are a big part of Christmas. Gabriel spoke to Mary about becoming the mother of Jesus. Other angels shared the good news of the birth with shepherds. They brought messages of joy and sang out with joyful voices. Use musical notes to represent joy. (Luke 2:8-15)


Mary, the mother of Jesus cared for Him and stayed with Him even as he died. She showed her love. A heart reminds us of love (Luke 1:41, Luke 2:2-7, 19, John 19:35, Acts 1)


Joseph at first worried about how Mary came to be pregnant. Then God sent an angel in a dream to let Joseph know the baby was the long-promised savior. He believed and faithfully cared for Mary. Joseph followed God’s direction to take them to Egypt for safety without questioning it. Represent his faithfulness with a Bible (Luke 2:4-7, 33; Matthew 2:13-15, 19-21).

Gift of Life

Jesus came to give us eternal life. Every baby reminds us of new life, the precious gift of God. The baby in a creche of box can be a reminder of life especially the gift of life that will last forever (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4).


Shepherds watching their sheep on a peaceful night saw and listened to the angels. They heard the message, “Peace on earth to men of Good Will.” And went and saw Jesus and told everyone about his birth. They rejoiced that He came to brings peace. Use a candy cane for peace as it shows the shape of a J for Jesus and reversed it shows a cane of staff for the shepherds who responded to the message of peace and the news of the birth. (Luke 2:8-20).

Hop and Trust

The Wise men, also called Magi, followed a star as they believed in the hope they would find the new king. They persisted even when the star seemed to disappear, and sought him. At last they found Jesus and gave him gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh. Isaiah 60:6 mentions how people of other nations would come with gold and frankincense. Their gifts fulfill the hope of that Old Testament scripture. Use a star to remember hope and trust in that hope even when things seem to be going wrong.

God’s Mercy

God the Father sent Jesus. Herod, the earthly king, was upset to hear about this newborn king killed all the babies in Bethlehem just to destroy Jesus. He was not a believer and yet God sent Jesus for everyone and wants all to be saved. They need our prayers and love. Use a symbol of the world with a heart on it as a reminder that God’s mercy and kindness extends to all (John 3:16, Matthew 2:1-7, 16-21).

Animals like sheep and cows are reminders that God cares for all He created. We are His sheep. The cows are reminders of God giving the Promised Land to the Israelites that would flow with milk and honey. It is also a reminder for us to be God’s caretakers and care for creatures and all He created. (John 10:7-17, Exodus 3:8).

Connect crafts or activities to nativity figure and value.


As a family, chat about the values you hold dear as a Christian. You can begin by reading related scriptures, and then enjoy activities that reinforce those values.

Craft Ideas

  • Create matching games (picture of symbol with a nativity figure or value)
  • Make ornaments, centerpieces, or mobiles with the symbols
  • Angels spread the news Jesus’ birth. Make Christmas cards with angels and bake angel shaped cookies. Pass them out.
  • Color a star like the wisemen of your nativity set, followed and brush the back with oil so light can pass through it. Shine like the stars with the glow of joy in your heart. Read about shining in Daniel 12:3
  • Shepherds heard a great message of peace. Use twist ties to put two candy canes together to make a V shaped peace sign. Tie a pretty ribbon around the twist tie and add the angel’s peace message. Pass them out to people.

Living Your Christian Values

  • Jesus came as a baby. Buy a baby toy to give to a toy drive to celebrate new life. Share about life in heaven.
  • Share good news with joy in singings or sending cards. Show love and be thankful for life. Share your faithfulness. Live knowing you are saved. Be at peace because God is with you. Forgive.Hope always. Love others as God does.
  • Be peacemakers. Forgive anyone who has hurt you, be a good sport when playing games, and let others go ahead or have the first turn. Read Genesis 4:2 where it called Adam a keeper of sheep. Read Psalm 23 about the peaceful shepherd who tends his little lambs.
  • Wise men brought gifts for Jesus. Be wise and think of ways to give gifts of love to Jesus. This might be with helping neighbors, being kind to strangers, or doing extra chores for money to give at church. Add a card and pray for people who will receive the gifts that it may give them hope. Their hope was based on prophecies, promises told long before them that God kept.
  • Make a shadow box of value symbols with an empty Christmas card box that has a clear lid.
    • Make divisions inside with pieces of cardboard (bend one edge of each piece and glue it down). Then use the value symbols mentioned above to place inside the box. These can be cutouts, molded clay, or tiny items like toy sheep you might have already). Adhere each in place. Put the lid on and stand it on a counter or hang it up.

Let new experiences of faith at Christmas help your children, or grandchildren, understand the complex story represented by each nativity figure and make your home more kingdom-driven.

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