Some call them nativities, some call them manger scenes, some say creche, or presepio. They may be living scenes complete with all the animals, or they may be artistic representations or statues ...whatever you grew up calling them, however they are displayed, nativity scenes are a lovely symbol of this time of year, a reminder to us all to take a moment, slow down a bit, and remember to focus on the lessons found in that humble scene.
The center of the nativity is of course the mother Mary, her husband Joseph, and the birth of the baby Jesus. Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first Nativity scene back in 1223, in Greccio, Italy. He staged that first scenic representation in a cave there in Italy, and was inspired to do so after his journey to the Holy Land. There he was struck by the humility and simplicity of the birth of Jesus, who was born into such poverty, and this inspired Saint Francis to not only deepen his devotion the the child Jesus, but to also re-create this scene back in Italy. Saint Francis hoped that his nativity scene would inspire others to seek more simplicity and less materialism. In fact, he founded his new religious Order to imitate the very virtues he gleaned from his Holy Land visit.
Today, we still associate Nativity Scenes with Christmas-time, and hopefully we still seek those simple virtues of humbleness and kindness. In a season when we find ourselves rushing around, why not take a moment and stroll through our Christmas department. You'll find angels, gold, silver, and gleaming white, barns and mangers and all the trimmings to set the stage for your own nativity, and many varieties of the holy family. One of our favorite traditions, nativity scenes also make a thoughtful gift. Whether you are gifting or keeping for your own home, our Nativity scenes are sure to inspire you.