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19 December 2019


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When in Italy for the holidays, my Italian wife and I (and her family) have always gone to the "Presepe Vivente" where perhaps a hundred local Marcheggiani set up living outside nativity scenes presenting typical activities going on around the birth of Christ and the birth, best viewed by torch and firelight.


I wonder if in part, "The nativity scene is like a living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture. " Francis was referring to this tradition around Marche, and perhaps elsewhere in Italy and the world.

My wife's brother sets up the one near the family home fireplace.


My nativity set, worse for the wear but still very nice, has been passed down to me from my great grandfather. Complete with the aryan blonde/blue eyed wax baby jesus missing a hand. He must be kept in the freezer throughout the year. Merry Christmas



We collect creche scenes.We have them from all over the world but my favorite is one carved in old olive wood in Bethlehem. The figures are a foot high and are fairly stylized, and have no faces. I bought it from the man who carved it.

Diana C

The nativity scene was also the center of our family Christmas as I was growing up. Santa Clause was just an almost cartoon image that we never believed in, really.

My brother and father had worked together to create our creche. Then for several years, we built the scene itself, which was placed under our tree. (Our family was not wealthy, so we could buy only one or two figures each year.)

The local Woolworth's story sold the figures, so we were able to purchase those figures there, starting, of course, with the holy family. Our tree had only twinkling blue lights. We could lie on the floor and look at the scene with the blue lights twinkling above like stars on a dark winter's night. A large bright star topped our tree.

Our Christmas Eve service always featured the reenactment of St. Luke 2 by the Sunday school classes. I was very young when I memorized that chapter, and I can still recite it.

When I was ten, I had no money but wanted to give my Grandmother, my father's mother, a gift for Christmas because she was often sad, remembering her home in Russia. She had been orphaned when her parents died in a buggy accident, and she had been raised by her older sister, my Great Aunt Katherine. My mother told me that Grandma always wished she could hear some of the German children's Christmas songs that she had sung and heard as a little girl. Mom and I got to work,, and I learned "Ihr Kinderlein Kommet," a three-verse children's Christmas song that is still sung by German children. The whole song is about the scene in Bethlehem: the manger, the baby Jesus in his "reinlichen Windeln" while Mary and Josef "betrachten es froh," and the shepherds kneel praying before the manger.

I have always been annoyed by the orgy of gift buying and partying around Christmas. I agree with the Pope. This season should be a a time for reflection on the meaning and on the wonder of the Incarnation.


I live in a midwestern city that has a large Roman Catholic population. Our beautiful public conservatory displays a life-sized nativity scene every Christmas season and many thousands of people visit it. I'm so happy this nearly century-old tradition has been upheld to help renew and contextualize the celebration of Christmas. It's lovely and quite inspiring.


"According to Bonaventure, Francis in 1223 sought permission from Pope Honorious III to do something “for the kindling of devotion” to the birth of Christ. As part of his preparations, Francis “made ready a manger, and bade hay, together with an ox and an ass,” in the small Italian town of Greccio.

One witness, among the crowd that gathered for this event, reported that Francis included a carved doll which cried tears of joy and “seemed to be awakened from sleep when the blessed Father Francis embraced Him in both arms.”

This miracle of the crying doll moved all who were present, Bonaventure writes. But Francis made another miracle happen, too: The hay that the child lay in healed sick animals and protected people from disease."


scott s.

The tradition continues in Mililani Town, at least in our house and of course also at St John A&E Church.

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