Any who know me well, know I am drawn to Nativity sets. They are almost irresistible! I’ve found I’m not the only one who “collects” nativity sets. Each is unique, yet their message is the same. Without a word, they tell the story of prophesy fulfilled, and of the realization of the unfolding Plan of Happiness. They also whisper the central place of families in our Father’s plan.
When I was packing up Christmas last year I realized I would be on a mission for Christmas in 2021. I set aside a few favorite things to take on our mission adventure. Among the things I pondered over was a set of simple puppets I made for our family decades ago to remember the story of Christmas in America. I vacillated over bringing them because there seemed no logical reason to have them since there are few children living here at Adam-ondi-Ahman. In the end, I gave in to the prompting and packed them in the tote to bring.
With our new pavilion for a stable and a full moon for the star, Elder Steffensen had the idea of a “live nativity”. Most loved the idea except for pulling costumes together without the resources of home and in a short time. It was then I thought of the little puppets I had brought along. When I mentioned them, Elder Steffensen liked the idea. We made a few more animals so everyone would have a part.
The evening we had chosen to meet, we realized someone would have to be the cameraman and wouldn’t be a part of the group. As Darrel and I chatted about a possible solution, I had a feeling not to worry. I said, “I feel certain someone will be there to assist us.”
It was a chilly night and as we sat in warm vehicles waiting for everyone to arrive, our previous directors just happened to be here on their way to see family for Christmas! They had expected to just slip in and out without detection, but their timing was perfect. It was a joyous reunion and far beyond any solution I had imagined! Elder and Sister Hobley were more than happy to document perhaps the first AOA live nativity ever.
Clearly our righteous desires are known to the Father. Perhaps this year’s Nativity will be a favorite forever because the Spirit paved the way long before the idea was born in anyone’s mind. In this small thing, He had a plan to fill the hearts of missionaries missing home and family through a nativity scene to remind us of where it all began and who’s Second Advent we are daily preparing for. Surely, this is pattern of having a plan for the success and happiness of His Children is what the gospel, temples, prophets, and families are all about. How blessed we are! Merry Christmas!