What a wonderful time of year this is. I look forward to the holidays with so much joy and I know it is because of my own childhood Christmas memories in our Westside home. Amidst the hussle and bussle of gift buying, wrapping, decorating the tree and home, my mother included the wonderful tradition of bringing out and setting up the nativity scene together. With wide eyes I would listen to the story of this baby that changed the world. It was so comforting to hear about the 3 kings, the angels and all the animals that surrounded this newborn King.
As I grew up and had a family of my own, this tradition continued with my own children, and it was with that same reverence that we placed the baby Jesus in the crib and sang happy birthday to him. I also made costumes and dressed up all the kids as the 3 kings, shepherds, angels, lambs, and of course Mary and Joseph. Our family Christmas gatherings had their very own live version of the birth of Jesus.
Did you know that in 1223, Saint Francis had the idea to have real people dress up in biblical clothes, placed a doll in a manger and brought in real animals outside a cave in Greccio, Italy? He wanted to capture the essence of that wonderful event. On Christmas Eve the town gathered by candlelight at the cave to rejoice Christ’s birth in song and prayer. This first recreation of the Nativity was so loved that the news of this event spread rapidly, and soon other towns had their own live nativity scenes.
In the spirit of Saint Francis, Instruments of Hope would like to extend a peace filled, joyous Christmas to you and your families. God Bless and keep you safe always.
Susan Evangelista, Author