Nativities, as an art form, have flourished in homes and churches around the world. During the 18th century, nativities scenes peaked in popularity resulting in beautiful and extensive scenes that included the entire town of Bethlehem. Often these sets would reflect the owners' wealth, social and cultural identity as well as the physical resources of their creators.
Liam, my middle guy, prefers the french word for crib - creche- which refers to the bed in which the infant Jesus lay. The creche was said to be a manager, which is actually designed to hold feed for livestock. Today the word creche has come to represent the entire Nativity Scene.
My parents used to always have a nativity scene on display outside. It was a great reminder of the Christmas season. Some nights in a snow storm the shepherds and wise men would be covered in snow but the Christmas lights always seemed to melt the snow around the bay Jesus.
On Friday afternoons, I volunteer as a tour guide at the Basilica
Cathedral Museum where we have an incredible Christmas display featuring
nativities from all over the world. These nativitys are as varied and beautiful as the dozens of countries and cultures that created them.
The public is welcome to visit weekday afternoons from 1-4.