2023 marks the 800th anniversary of Saint Francis of Assisi constructing the first Christmas crèche in a cave in Greccio, Italy. To mark this special anniversary in our faith history, during their Winter General Meeting, bishops invited everyone to share a picture, or video, of their crib whether it is at home or in the workplace, along with a story.
Julieann said, “One of my treasured memories is being chosen as a child to place the newborn Jesus in the crib after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. My parents taught us that the crib was not a Christmas decoration but a representation and bringing close, the miracle in Bethlehem into our home. We were also taught not to place the Magi in the crib until the feast of the Epiphany on 6 January. Then, the crib stayed in place long after the Christmas tree and decorations were packed away until 2 February, Candlemas, which is 40 days after Christmas.”
Another contributor, Crysta said, “Visiting the crib in Granny and Granddad’s house on Christmas Day was such a highlight for us. As a small child, we played with the figures, while always treating them with such care. Now I see my little girl doing the same thing, and although the animals have been updated over the years, the crib figures, (although a little worse for wear) are still there, ready for the next generation of our family.”
Chah’s story took a different turn as she said, “My favourite Christmas memory is gathering with friends and family at my family farm, sharing food and childhood stories sitting around an outdoor fire.”
Alan also shared his crib message and said, “Cribs are, one of the most beautiful additions to Catholic tradition. There is a simple joy to them.”
Martin shared his fondest memories by saying, “As a child the start of the excitement of Christmas was marked by my parents who set up the stable of Nativity figures in the centre of our home – some worse for wear – with a little internal warm light above the empty crib highlighting the coming of Jesus on Christmas Day.”