Monday, December 5, 2016

Nativity Moss Garden

People, look east. The time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.

We are coming into one of our family's favorite seasons: advent. I did not grow up celebrating advent, but in the last few years, it has become such a special time of clearing space in our life for Jesus in the midst of the hectic holiday season. Last year, we began setting aside the four Sundays of Advent as a time to connect with friends, pray and sing advent carols, share the story of the nativity, and feast together. Occasionally, we also get inspired to craft together.

When my husband, Brent, was a boy, he would sometimes help Janet, an older woman at his church, go out in the woods and collect tufts of moss and partridge berries to make partridge berry bowl arrangements, which she would sell at their Christmas craft fair. A few years ago, he was inspired to make some to decorate our home, and collected the forest stuff at my parents' house in West Virginia. We had so much leftover that year, that we made a moss garden with a nativity in it, as well. This year, we were inspired to recreate our moss garden with the kids.
 While we were visiting my parents before Thanksgiving, we went out into the West Virginia woods and collected all kinds of interesting things, little hummocks of moss, branches with reindeer lichen, partridge berries, pine cones, and strings of ground pine. 
While we were out in the woods we stumbled upon some of the artifacts of my childhood. We discovered my special house in the woods, which my brother and I called Terabithia. This was the fire pit (for pretend fires only). We also found the old logs, slightly shifted from where they had been walls and couches, and the secret rock that marked the entrance.
We got so into collecting that we came home with a big bag of extra forest goodies. So we invited our friends to make one too.
We gathered some planters and a bag of top soil. Then we arranged our treasures on top with little stables that we bought at thrift stores and Wal-mart. We also planted some paperwhite bulbs on one side so our gardens would blossom in a few weeks.This was our friends creation. I love the draping moss effect. Once the paperwhites blossom, we hope to be able to stake them to the branches sticking up.
Here was ours:
 I love being able to combine Brent's special memories of his time with his friend in the New England woods, with my memories of my favorite play spots near my home in West Virginia, and using them to create a beautiful new memory for our kids and their friends.
Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare,
One more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish,
That in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the rose, is on the way.


  1. Love your posts. They are always interesting.

  2. What a nice project for the entire family.