Friday, December 24, 2010

dinner nativity

This will be our first Christmas with the four of us at home. Israel is at a really fun age where expectation can be built and meaningful things understood. Eden also is demonstrating that she understands stories and gets excited over simple things. It's fun times around the holidays.

I feel this great freedom in being home to start our own traditions and to focus on Jesus during this time (all things about it not being his actual birthday aside). We didn't do as well as I would have liked with Advent this year, but I love the whole season of waiting for Jesus' light to come into the world. And now is the time to celebrate that light. But how to communicate that to the kids? I wanted to have a special meal with them, but I don't think great adult food communicates a celebration to a 1 and 3 year old. I searched the internet for ideas for a way to tell the Christmas Story through a dinner. There wasn't anything. So we made up our own. There were good ideas given to be over facebook, too, but I didn't have the ingredients on hand for those. So we made do with what we had, and I think it turned out well. We made the different foods, set them out on the table, and put them on plates as we told the story. So here is the story of the nativity as told through a candlelit dinner.

One night, a long time ago, in a land across the ocean, a star appeared in the sky. It was a bright star. (Let's paint our star really bright.)
Do you know what the star was telling people?
- Stars don't talk, mom.
You're right. Do you know why the star was there? Someone was born. Who was born?
- A Savior.
And what does a Savior do?
- Rescues the people.
That's right!

That same time, there were shepherds out in the fields, watching their sheep. Let's make our field.... And suddenly an angel came to the field! And the angel said, "Don't be afraid! I have good news for you! Our Savior has been born in a stable. You'll find him lying on some hay in a manger." And then a whole bunch of angels (putting them all on the field...) came and started singing and celebrating!

The shepherds ran off and sure enough, there was the manger. Who was in the manger?
- Baby Jesus!
Right! Here's some hay for a manger and can you put baby Jesus on the hay? There! The shepherds went to go see baby Jesus!

Of course, Eden had already been eating the heads off the angels and had eaten baby Jesus too, and kept asking where baby Jesus went. The obvious answer: Jesus is inside you! :)

If you want to know what the various things on the plate are, aside from their symbolism, here's the role call:

The part of the star was played by your favorite crab or tuna cake recipe, formed in a star cookie cutter and carefully fried. It was made to shine by a mustard, mayo, yogurt sauce.

The field was played by sauteed green beans and the angels were played by potato slices, cut, salted, and sprinkled with pepper, paprika, or coriander.

The hay was played by chopped apples mixed with honey and a little vinegar and cinnamon.

Baby Jesus was played by two marshmallows and a golden raisin on a toothpick with melted chocolate dots for eyes.