Many, many ages ago, in the year 1223, something wonderful happened. A very spiritual man by the name of Francis of Assisi conceived of an idea to help the poor peasants who could not read learn about the birth of Jesus on earth. He would help people remember the Christ Child and how He was born in Bethlehem.
Francis called it a “crèche,” the French word for cradle. Francis created the first crèche using real people, a real manger, a real ox and ass, and real shepherds. It was what is now called a “living nativity,” and there are many being created around the world at Christmastime, much as in the year 1223. (from The Life of St.Francis by Thomas of Celano)
I have always loved crèches. They bring me much ‘comfort and joy,’ whether it be a small one hanging on the Christmas tree,
or sitting on a table top.
Then two and a half years ago our very large pistachio tree in front of the Yuba City house fell down in the early morning of Pentecost. Miraculously the only damage was one small chip off a brick in the sidewalk. It took our dear friends, Deacon Brad and his brother, Jeff, about five days to cut up the giant tree and haul it away. I was so sad as we had planted the tree and enjoyed it for many years! Before they left I went around and picked up twigs and wedges of the cut limbs that were left on the ground. I planned even then to make a twig crèche with the little pieces.
A number of years ago I had purchased a very small bag of tiny plastic nativity figures that I had tucked away for a project like this. A few days ago my husband, David, and I got them out with our hot glue gun and started to build a very small nativity scene. We used tiny pieces of bark for Baby Jesus’ cradle. I think Deacon Brad would be pleased!
This is one way I keep my eyes on Jesus, by looking down upon the crèches of the Christ child as I walk through the house. May you be blessed as well with ‘comfort and joy’ in this Advent season, and all throughout the year. Amen.