Dear little leah,
Many years ago, when your mama was very small (like you!), I made a very special nativity set. I wanted to teach your mama (maren), and aunt kelli, and uncles scott and dan about Jesus and how He came to earth so that someday we could go back to live with Heavenly Father.
I made the nativity set out of fabric so children could touch it and use the pieces to act out the story of Jesus' birth. I didn't want children to be afraid to touch and move the pieces nor to worry about breaking anything. Many nativity sets are shiny and breakable, and grownups are always saying, "you can look at it but you can't touch it!" Not this one. You can touch it and feel the warmth that comes from hearing the story about Jesus; of Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem to pay their taxes and while they were there Mary knew it was time for her baby to be born. Joseph and Mary didn't have any place to sleep and the innkeeper said he didn't have a room for them so they went to a stable - a cave, really. It must have been cold and not very clean because animals lived in the stable. But that night Mary didn't worry about where she was - she was just happy to bring her little baby boy, Jesus, into the world. She held Him, and rocked Him, and I'm sure she sang Him a lullaby. Love filled the stable that night.
Lots of people were waiting for Jesus to be born. And Heavenly Father wanted everyone to know, so He put a big star in the sky right over the stable where Jesus lay resting.
And angel came to visit some shepherds who were busy tending their sheep in the fields. The angel told the shepherds to look at the star in the sky...if they followed it, they would find Jesus. Follow the star - it will lead you to the Son.
Wise men in a far away country also saw the star in the sky - people in many countries saw the star and knew that it was a sign from heavenly Father that He had sent His Son. The wise men traveled a long, long time to come see Jesus. They brought Him presents because they wanted Jesus to know that they loved Him, and they wanted to thank Heavenly Father for giving them the gift of His Son.
Little Leah, this fabric nativity set hasn't had any children to play with it for a long time. Your mama and kelli and scott and dan are all grown up and there aren't any little children in my house anymore. I've wondered for a long time what to do with this nativity, but this year I knew exactly what to do.
You see, Jesus came to earth to heal us. We all need Him and can't go back to live with Heavenly Father without Him. But sometimes we all get busy and we forget about Jesus - sometimes we get careless and do things that make Jesus sad. But Heavenly Father sent you to our family to help us remember Jesus. You are pure and you haven't forgotten Jesus. I know that if you held this little baby Jesus in your hands you will love Him and take care of Him. And He will love and take care of you. So, will you be the caretaker of the inn and all of its inhabitants? Your mama and daddy can help because I know that they love Jesus, too.
Little Leah, I'm so glad you're my little granddaughter. I love you so very much. Heavenly Father and I talk about you a lot. He has let me know what an amazing daughter of God you are.
Merry Christmas, little leah.
With lots of love, grandma hauley (grandshmoj)