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Candle in the Night

Friday, November 25, 2011

31 Days to Christmas Day 1: Nativity Scene

The story of the first nativity scene or “creche” tells of a church too crowded to hold Christmas Mass, a cave, set up with a manger, cows, and sheep, and people rushing to the scene singing songs of praise.  It’s a beautiful story and although most of our nativity scenes hold tiny replicas, they are there for the same reason.  The original scene was set up by St. Francis of Assisi and as St. Bonaventure tells it, after the people gathered in, “Then he (St. Francis) preached to the people around the nativity of the poor King; and being unable to utter His name for the tenderness of His love, He called Him the Babe of Bethlehem.”  What a beautiful story. 
File:Gerard van Honthorst 001.jpg

This is the purpose of our nativity scenes today.  In my family, the nativity scene was always the first of the Christmas decorations to go up and the last to come down.  As children, we would open the box and unwrap each character, and as we did, a sense of awe would settle into the room.  Mary, Joseph, a camel, a shepherd.  Each character was placed in or near the stable.  The last to go in was the “Babe of Bethlehem.”  And thus Christmas begins at my house still.  The nativity scene is set up to remind us of His love for us.  To remind us what the season is all about.  To remind us that our King, the Lord of lords was born in a stable, wrapped in rags, and placed in a manger full of hay. 

As you set up your nativity scene, make it a point to reflect on the beauty of His coming to us, a babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 

Luke 2:7
And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was none to give room for them in the inns.

Candle in the Night



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