A few people have asked if I would again this year explain the tradition surrounding the preparation of a Nativity Tray.
Less than a week from today is Christmas Eve so I thought this would the perfect time to share with you a tradition in our home. This Christmas Eve will be our twelfth year to prepare a Nativity Tray, which is a medieval English custom.
I first read about it in, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I thought it was such a wonderful thing to do and to me, it epitomizes the spirit of, “goodwill toward men”.
If you have the Simple Abundance book you can read all about the Nativity Tray on the December 24 entry, for those of you who don’t here is part of what it says,
“…Legend has it that on the night of the nativity, whosoever ventures out into great snows bearing a succulent bone for a lost and lamenting hound, a wisp of hay for a shivering horse, a warm cloak for a stranded wayfarer, a garland of bright berries for one who has worn chains, a dish of crumbs for all huddled birds who thought their song was dead, and sweetmeats for little children who peer from lonely windows–whosoever prepares this simple abundant tray, ‘shall be proffered and returned gifts of such an astonishment as will rival the hues of the peacock and the harmonies of heaven’.”
For us, as with I’m sure, most of you, it’s not about what we may receive. It’s about the giving and the sharing, in a simple way, the true meaning of Christmas.
I apologize for the quality of the photo…it was freezing outside and my hands were shaking!
On Christmas Eve, before we go to bed, we all bundle up (or not!) and venture into the cold backyard. We place a bowl of birdseed, a pile of cut up apples, a dish of cranberries, a pile of torn up bread, peelings from the potatoes used to make the turkey dressing, a handful of nuts, a few cut up carrots and any other pieces of fruit or vegetable we have on hand. Every Christmas morning we check the tray and without exception, it has always been empty!
Do you put a Nativity Tray? Are you going to start this tradition with your family? What will you put on your tray?
Wishing you and those you love a very Merry Christmas filled with all things wonderful!