Isaiah 9:2-7 – The point is, they came.

Reflecting and Doing

A super activity for home, school or church – make a peg-doll nativity! You can make this activity as simple or complex, as long or as short as you like – a simple undecorated version is beautiful and elegant, yet takes only minutes to put together.

You will need:

  • old-fashioned dolly pegs
  • large wooden beads or cut-down dolly pegs for Jesus
  • scraps of wool, fabric, pipe cleaners
  • fine liner pens
  • scissors
  • glue dots or hot glue (works well, but needs supervision)
  • modelling clay (for standing figures)

Use a blob of modelling clay to make a base for the figures if you want them to stand up. Alternatively, glue a loop of yarn to the back to make a hanging loop (it’s nicer than hanging Mary and Joseph by their necks!)

Make pipe cleaner arms and add yarn hair and fabric clothes to make your characters. You can leave the faces blank or add simple features with fine liners.

For baby Jesus, you can use a cut-down dolly peg or a large wooden bead hot-glued to a roll of fabric. Add a fabric wrap to cover the holes.



You can make a very simple but beautiful tree decoration by hot-gluing two unadorned pegs side-by-side for Mary and Joseph.

Wrap some rustic fabric around a cut-down peg (or glue a bead to a roll of fabric) and hot-glue this to the front of Mary. Or you could leave the peg plain as this example.

You can add a twine tie around the middle and glue a hanging loop to the back. This example also has a wired star.

lolly stick nativity

For younger children, you can make this lolly stick crib.

Pre-cut the lolly sticks with strong scissors, and have the children colour one half-stick white for the angel, one blue for Mary and one brown for Joseph.

Wrap wool or fabric around the Jesus half-stick and add a length of glitter pipe cleaner for the angel’s halo and wings. Draw small curves for the eyes.

Assemble the scene with glue dots and stick some strands of straw to the front for the manger


For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.

When my eldest daughter was six months old, she played baby Jesus in the church’s Christmas Eve nativity service. There were a couple of other baby Jesuses (Jesi?) too, more sheep than you could shake a crook at, and about a dozen wise men (one of the supermarkets was doing a particularly good line in dress-up costumes that year). Add in a mighty host of angels (several in pink party dresses) and the stable was pretty crowded!

I love the chaotic muddle of it all, and blow the purists who point out that the wise men didn’t arrive until much later, and it wasn’t in a stable, and Mary almost certainly didn’t ride on a donkey, and angels aren’t cute little girls, and … and …

All that may be true, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m happy to have the wise men next to the shepherds in my crib scene. The point is not when they arrived, but that they came.

The safe birth of a child, even in the less-than perfect circumstances of the first Christmas, is always a cause of celebration for family and friends. Some well-wishers come early – grandmas with hand-knitted bootees – other visitors come later. Preferably with chocolate.

Still others come later into a child’s life – friends and schoolmates, then workmates and romantic partners – and these see not the babbling baby but the adult that the baby has become. Some may only meet the child for the first time in old age.

The shepherds met Jesus at a few hours old. The wise men came a couple of years later. Andrew, Peter, James and John, and the rest met him almost thirty years after that, and for me it was almost two millennia. The point is not when we arrived, but that we came.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.


Isaiah 9:2-7 New International Version

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.

You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.


New International Version

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Illustrations of peg doll nativities from various Pinterest boards


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