“God of all hope and joy, open our hearts in welcome, that your Son Jesus Christ at his coming may find in us a dwelling prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.” - New Zealand Prayer Book
When I was a child our family had a crèche set for which my father had built a stable out of wood from the trimming of a tree in our backyard. Though we never really observed “Advent” I remember that the week after Thanksgiving we would begin by bringing the stable down from the attic and setting it on the coffee table in the living room. With each week that passed we would remove from an ancient box the figures of the crèche scene. We learned, my brothers and I that we had to be very careful in unwrapping the items as they had been made by my grandmother.
There was great discussion about what would be put out when - the animals first---a donkey with only one ear, the sheep of all shapes and sizes and one black, a horse, a pig (don’t know where that came from). Then the shepherds on one side of the stable with a bunch of angels standing around and the wise men with their camels on the other side. We were deliberate but not terribly organized.
As I look back on it now my parents were very wise to allow us to work out the placement all on our own.