The Courage of Joseph: The Correct Arrangement

By Amanda Warren

My son’s Nativity setup revealed a fresh perspective of the Christmas story.

correctarrangementIt was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and my 6-year-old son, Cole, was eager to decorate our house for Christmas. One of our family’s favorite Christmas decorations is a ceramic Nativity set that my husband and I received as a wedding gift. Since this was the first year I was allowing Cole to set it out on the sideboard cabinet in the dining room, I instructed him to be extremely careful handling the figurines and gave him some vague directions on the “correct” way to arrange a Nativity scene.

I unpacked a few boxes of decorations in the family room and then returned to the dining room to check on Cole’s progress. He had finished setting out the Nativity scene and was proudly standing by the sideboard. When I looked over at the scene, my first thought was, Uh-uh! Not set up correctly. 

As everyone knows, the correct placement is for baby Jesus to be in the center with Mary and Joseph on each side, the shepherds and wise men placed in a semi-circle around them, the animals on the periphery, and the angel hovering in the background.

What Cole created was Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men, the angel, and even the animals all completely encircling the manger and very, very close to the baby Jesus.

At that moment, the Holy Spirit revealed a part of the story I had never considered: Everyone who gathered around the manger wanted to draw close. They were in awe. They wanted to see and touch and be close to the King of kings. Cole’s interpretation of the Nativity scene was far more accurate than mine.

With a lump in my throat, I reached down and gave Cole a hug and said, “Thank you. It looks perfect.”

I hope this Christmas season that you, too, will draw close to the greatest gift humanity has ever received and that you will be open to something new God wants to share with you about the birth of His Son, Jesus.

Amanda Warren lives in Raleigh, N.C., with her husband, Brooks, and two sons, Seth and Cole. She is an active member of Trinity Baptist Church where she teaches Sunday School and Bible skills classes to children. In her free time, she enjoys journaling, reading, and walking her dog, Roxy. 

homelife darinThis article originally appeared in the December, 2012 issue of Home Life. Subscribe


  1. Bill Shepherd says:

    Thanks for sharing! What a wonderful illustration of how we should truly be in awe of the birth of our Savior! We truly do need to get close to Him (draw near to Him)!

    Merry CHRISTmas!

  2. Winnie Miller says:

    I’m extremely grateful of the greatest and most precious gift I’ll ever receive… The Savior to the World, Jesus! What a blessing to be a part of His glorious family.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Edith Mopelola Odeku says:

    I’m just reading this story by Amanda Warren now in the month of February 2014 and I’m glad that Jesus is the centre of my joy and my life. Christmas is always a period of increased activity all over the world towards celebration and preparation into a new year. I feel sad because in the midst of the hustle & bustle, only few people know the real reason for the celebration though almost all know the Christmas story. Almost all celebrate Chritmas but few embrace CHRIST. Join me to dedicate five minutes of your time everyday to interceed that God will open the eyes of understanding of people around us to the knowledge of Christ. As we celebrate the next Christmas if Jesus tarries in His coming, I pray that many more people will know JESUS as The Lord and Savior and accept Him into their lives.

  4. William Vann says:

    This article was in our Sunday morning bible class study book (Bible Studies for Life). It let me to the blog where I read the rest of the story. It just confirmed what I thought years ago when I was a child putting the arrangement and did not put the figurines in the right place around Baby Jesus…..I thought “What difference does it make, they are all in there” and I was in there with them. My heart was in it and I am so proud of Amanda Warren for allowing her son to feel OK with his placing the figurines. I am sure he felt as I did that I would want to be close as I could so I could see Baby Jesus. Thanks for the article.

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