The Christmas Creche


When the Messiah that was promised to Adam and Eve was finally born in a manger in Bethlehem, angels sang and shepherds came to see the newborn King.

Devotion to the Savior’s birth, when God became flesh, is nearly as old as the Church itself.

The nativity scene, manger, or crèche that we know today began when St. Francis of Assisi recreated the scene in Greccio, Italy in 1223 A.D. after visiting the Holy Land.

The tradition spread to different towns, churches, and homes throughout the world.

As an object of devotion, the nativity scene helps to understand, appreciate, and reflect on what the birth of Jesus truly means for mankind.

A reminder that God comes to us:

St. Francis dramatized the fact that God became human:

No one, whether shepherd or wise man, can approach God here below except by kneeling before the manger at Bethlehem and adoring him hidden in the weakness of a new-born child.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 563

The nativity scene depicts the Incarnation:

It gives me great joy to know that the custom of creating a crib scene has been preserved in your families. Yet it is not enough to repeat a traditional gesture, however important it may be. It is necessary to seek to live in the reality of daily life that the crib represents, namely, the love of Christ, his humility, his poverty. This is what St Francis did at Greccio: he recreated a live presentation of the nativity scene in order to contemplate and worship it, but above all to be better able to put into practice the message of the Son of God who for love of us emptied Himself completely and made Himself a tiny child.

Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, December 13, 2009

The enchanting image of the Christmas crèche:

A tangible reminder of a historic event:

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Luke 2: 4-7

Immersing ordinary people into the circumstances that Jesus was born:

A scene representing a family in difficulty:

Details of the nativity story foreshadow future events:

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