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The Christmas Message As Told Through Nativity Scenes from Around the World
A multimedia message for Christmas Eve/Day
by Rev. Frank Schaefer

Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223 (a "living" one) intending to cultivate the worship of Christ. The scene's popularity inspired communities throughout Christendom to stage similar pantomimes.

But very soon elaborate and ever more elaborate static exhibitions were created with wax and ivory figurines garbed in rich fabrics set against intricate landscapes.

. . . .

Over time nativity sets became smaller and were used indoors, often to be placed under the Christmas Tree.  In various regions of the world, different materials, different techniques and backgrounds were used for the crafting of nativity scenes.

German Nativity Scene

This is a typical German Nativity Scene. You can tell, because it looks a lot like a castle scene. Notice how baby Jesus is portrayed with outstretched arms. This is symbolic of Baby Jesus blessing the people around Him in the name of God. It also anticipates his eventual death at the cross.

This Peruvian portrayal of loving Mary and Joseph is not a Snuggie commercial, but rather shows the holy family wrapped warmly in traditional Peruvian clothing.

Isnít it curious that baby Jesus looks a lot like the people in whose country the nativity pieces were crafted?

There is nothing wrong with that, because the central message of Christianity, indeed the central message of Christmas is that Jesus, the son of God, became human, that he became like us.....


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