Come with us on a journey to the Nativity….
The Nativity Scene is an essential element of our remembrance and our worship at Christmas. It is a proclamation, for our eyes and our hearts, about the kind of God we worship.
It was 800 years ago that, in the Italian mountain town of Greccio, St Francis of Assisi gave us the first recorded nativity scene – which was a real live enactment of the nativity story, complete with live animals! His aim was to share the Gospel message in a simple and visual way to a predominantly illiterate community at that time. The crib scene became a “book” that everyone could read and it is this which has inspired the static nativity scenes which we see today.
When we gaze upon a nativity scene, we are painted a picture that draws us deeper into the mystery of Christ’s incarnation – through the different characters on display.
It is a clear reminder of what the Christmas season is all about – that of the humanity of God, when he came as a baby into the world. In his Homily on St Luke, the Church Father, Origen, reminds us of how the nativity scene helps us to know God – as human and as divine. He said:
“Having understood this manger, let us strive to know the Lord and become worthy of the knowledge of Him, and to receive his birth, the resurrection of his flesh, and also his glorious return in majesty. To Him be glory and dominion unto all ages. Amen”
So, this Christmas, let us look, with fresh eyes – into the wonderful mystery and majesty contained within this humble scene. Here, at his birth, the Word became flesh to live among us – God became fragile in his infancy for us. And he came to welcome EACH ONE of us!
Through the nativity, God became knowable and he invites us to accept the invitation – each Christmas – to come to know him anew!
So we invite you, in these days leading up to Christmas, to join us here on our website (and via livestream for a children’s reflection) to reflect on this scene as we prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus at Christmas…