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The Living Nativity

Preparing for Christmas with Saint Francis

by Larry J. Peacock

Prepare your heart to kneel at the manger this Christmas.

Who came up with the idea of using nativity scenes to celebrate Christmas? Many might be surprised to learn that Francis of Assisi, the well-known thirteenth-century saint, is credited with creating the first nativity scene. The Living Nativity introduces readers to Saint Francis and his joyous reenactment of the birth of Jesus, complete with a manger and animals.

The Living Nativity explores how nativity sets, Advent wreaths, candles, carols, Christmas cards, and other traditions help prepare our hearts for the God “who bends low to enter our world and our lives.” Prayer poems for each day of the season lead readers to deepen their spiritual journey, and the book provides a guided pattern for individuals and small groups to share reflections and experience activities that open their hearts to the Christ child.

The Living Nativity provides a prayer, meditation, and reflection questions for each day of Advent. The Leader’s Guide includes suggestions for worship, discussion questions focused on the readings, and guidance for a mini-retreat on a theme of the week.

Key features include:

      • 4 weeks of 5 daily readings
      • An optional additional week of readings after Christmas
      • A suggested activity for each weekend to reinforce the weekly theme
      • Sundays contain suggestions for families or small groups


Bulk Discounts

When purchasing multiple copies of resources for your church school class, study group, committee, or other formative group, you may qualify for a quantity discount. Customers must order directly from the publisher, and the discount applies only to items shipping to one address.

1 – 4 items…………………………….. 0% off
5 – 9 items…………………………….. 5% off
10 – 19 items……………………….. 15% off
20 – 49 items ……………………….. 20% off
50 – 99 items ……………………….. 25% off
100 – 499 items ……………………. 40% off
500 plus items ………………………. 50% off

What is #MyLivingNativity?

Everyone has a favorite nativity set. This Advent, follow along on Instagram and share your favorite nativity scene using #MyLivingNativity for a chance to be featured by Upper Room Books and get a free copy of The Living Nativity by Larry Peacock.

Check out these online courses from The Upper Room:


Leader’s Guide eCourse

This FREE tool is designed for group leaders who will lead weekly gatherings of this Advent offering. You may find it helpful to register if you are leading a Living Nativity book club, Sunday school group, small group, or virtual gathering.



Private Classroom

The Living Nativity Private Classroom allows churches and groups to engage in the eCourse with a private and branded platform and receive discounted registration rates. Learn more about the private classroom option by emailing us today at urelearning@upperroom.org with “The Living Nativity Private Classroom” in the subject line.



Public eCourse

The Public eCourse will be available starting October 1st as an interactive way to engage with the book and take part in group discussions and activities. Register early to review course contents as you plan for your study. Register today for the public eCourse individual user rate of $19.

Interact with Advent like never before with The Upper Room Advent Calendar.

This calendar features interactive tools for each day of Advent and includes meditations, family activities, prayers, and more.
Click each block below and nourish your spirit this season by spending daily time in God’s presence.

About the Author

Larry Peacock is director of the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Milwaukie, Oregon. A retired United Methodist pastor, Peacock is also a trained spiritual director and retreat leader. He has served on faculties for both the Five-Day and Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation (sponsored by The Upper Room).

Before moving to Oregon, he served as executive director of Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center in Massachusetts. Peacock was a pastor of churches in Manchester, England; Michigan; and California. He has been on pilgrimage to Assisi twice and visited the cave in Greccio, Italy, where St. Francis held the worship service with the first live nativity scene.

Peacock is married to author Anne Broyles. They have two adult children and one granddaughter.

“This time of year is a journey of heart and hand—feeling and creating, being filled with wonder and awe, enjoying the simple act of decorating a tree or making an Advent wreath.”—Larry Peacock

Click here to read a recent Upper Room blog post by the author

The Living Nativity is available at your favorite retailers, including…