A Christmas nativity scene is probably one of the most recognizable symbols of the Christmas season. Nativities are art, models, carvings, or live demonstrations depicting the night of Jesus' birth. These scenes generally contain the same elements: the Christ child in a manger; his mother, Mary; his father, Joseph; shepherds; angels; various barn animals; and sometimes three wise men.
St. Francis of Assisi staged the first nativity scene in a cave outside of the town of Greccio, Italy on Christmas Eve night 1223 in an effort to promote the true meaning of Christmas and worship of Jesus Christ. In planning the scene St. Francis wrote to his friend Giovanni, “I want to do something that will recall the memory of that child who was born in Bethlehem, to see with bodily eyes the inconveniences of his infancy, how he lay in the manger, and how the ox and ass stood by.”
His idea caught on, and soon a new Christmas tradition was born. Today, it's almost impossible for one to go through the Christmas season without seeing a nativity scene in front of a church, in a Christmas play, decorating someone's yard, or placed in model form on a fireplace mantel.
The adorable hand-knit nativity set (picture) was recently purchased on the silent auction table at Woodroffe United Christmas bazaar in Ottawa. Countless hours would have gone into the making of this beautifully crafted scene.
Christian churches work hard these coming weeks leading to Advent in order to raise money for the needy in our city. St Augustine's recent Rummage Sale – a prime example- was a huge success to which all proceeds went directly to the Christmas hamper program.