Nativity Scene

Hello everyone!

It might be a little too late, but I was wondering how the Holy Family and other figures in a Nativity Scene are placed? Is there any liturgically correct way (Mary on right, Joseph on Left, Jesus in middle)? If so, could you show me the document?

Also, could you please post a picture of your church or home nativity (manger) scene just for ideas for next year.

Thank you!

My first thoughts on this is to Google Nativity pictures.
As to an official document liturgical or otherwise setting up a creche I doubt you’ll find one.

Generally; you begin setting up your creche with the three main figures with Mary, Joseph, flanking either side the Christ-child perhaps placing the statue Mary closer to the Christ-Child. Left or Right is not really the issue.


I love that painting. It is on the inside dome of the church at Shepherd’s Field near Bethlehem.

I think it makes sense to place Mary to the left, and Joseph to the right, matching their respective altar positions in most churches. But I don’t think it matters much.

The figures that we have look better if Mary is on the right and Joseph is on the left. That is just the way the set was made to look. You can move them around somewhat to have them looking at the baby Jesus in a position that looks natural.

I have a collection of nativity sets. The one I just left out last year (I like it) is set in place, not individual pieces. The Blessed Mother kneeling to the right of the manger, and St. Joseph is standing slightly behind her and to the left...right and left as you look at them. I don't know how "authoritative" this would be because I think it was from Joann Fabrics. They have great Christmas decorations. All the others I have are individual pieces, but this one is what you might call firm.

[quote="zab, post:3, topic:181283"]
I love that painting. It is on the inside dome of the church at Shepherd's Field near Bethlehem.


Actually at the beginning when I found the Nativity pic, I didn't know it came from the Shepherds Field Catholic Church in Bethlehem. I copied and pasted it from some Advent website in my computer files and used it as a wallpaper on my desktop. I love the painting too. Thanks for the heads up.

There is also a painting of the shepherds inside.

We set ours up differently every year. I have sets that the kids used to play with all through Christmas when they were younger (moving shepards around, bring the wise men in at epiphany etc.). You'll find that the figures in most sets only lend themselves to be displayed in a very few ways. That is, their head placement or posture means that they can only be in one or maybe two positions and still be focused on the baby Jesus. There is no official way though--however you feel the look best is fine.

Setting up a creche is NOT a liturgical act, or even mandated by the Liturgy or rubrics.

It’s simply a seasonal custom.

And I don’t think it matters which figure goes where, especially in a home.

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