According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Creches or Nativities Depict Message of Joy to the World

Monday, December 9, 2013

Creches or Nativities Depict Message of Joy to the World

Hark! The herald angels sing. Let earth receive her king!

Kathleen and I attended a crèche festival at an Olympia-area church last evening. In case you don’t know what a crèche is here’s what Wikipedia says:

“A nativity scene or crèche, also known as a manger scene, is the special exhibition of art objects representing the scene of the birth of Jesus. Nativity scenes exhibit figures representing the infant Jesus, his mother Mary and Joseph. Other characters from the nativity story, such as shepherds and sheep and angels may be displayed near the manger in a barn (or cave) as described in the gospel of Luke. A donkey and an ox are typically depicted in the scene, as well as the Magi and camels belonging to the Magi, described in Matthew.

“Saint Francis of Assisi, inspired by a visit to the Holy Land where he had been shown Jesus’ traditional birthplace, is credited with creating the first nativity scene, intending thereby to cultivate the worship of Christ. The first nativity exhibition was staged in a cave near Greccio, Italy. St. Francis' nativity scene was a living one with humans and animals cast in the Biblical roles. Pope Honorius III gave his blessing to the exhibit. Eventually, statues replaced human and animal participants, and static scenes grew to elaborate affairs with richly robed figurines placed in intricate landscape settings.”

Oh little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie. The stars are shining brightly in royal David’s city. Joy to the world!

Kathleen and I would like to collect some more crèches. We have two, one we bought at a Hallmark store and one we bought at the Crockett Art Museum in Sacramento, CA. We’ve liked the idea of collecting crèches since we helped sponsor a Crèche Festival in Bellingham, WA a few years ago. We’ve seen beautiful crèches carved in wood, fashioned in metal, pasted together with paper mache, fired as clay figurines; some feature precious stones, some are made of cardboard. It is fascinating to see how many different materials artists use to fashion a nativity scene.

“A (weird?) tradition in England involved baking a mince pie in the shape of a manger to hold the Christ Child until dinnertime when the pie was eaten. The Puritans banned Christmas celebrations here in the 17th century, passing legislation to outlaw such pies, calling them "Idolatries in crust”

“Distinctive nativity scenes and traditions have been created around the world and are displayed during the Christmas season in churches, homes, shopping malls and other venues, and occasionally on public lands and in public buildings. The Vatican has displayed a scene in St. Peter’s Square since 1982. In the United States, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City annually displays a Neapolitan Baroque nativity scene before a 20-foot blue spruce.

“Nativity scenes have not escaped controversy. A life-sized scene in the United Kingdom featuring waxworks celebrities provoked outrage in 2004, and, in Spain, a city council forbade the exhibition of a traditional toilet humor character in a public nativity scene. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) indicates that animals in living displays lack proper care and suffer abuse. In the United States, nativity scenes on public lands and in public buildings have provoked court challenges, and the prankish theft of ceramic or plastic nativity figurines from outdoor displays has become commonplace.”

An excellent article about crèches, written by Joe Cardenas, appeared a few years ago in a blog of the Heights School in Potomac, MD. The article was titled, “The Crèche, Its History, and its Meaning for Us this Advent. Sam and I urge you to check it out.

Poop on you if you don’t.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. He shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant. Hallelujah!

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