Nativities focus in churches and homes
BY TINA L. SCOTT
The nativity scene, also called a manger scene, crib, or creche, is a depiction of the birth of Jesus, particularly displayed at Christmas time in Christian denomination churches, as well as in homes and yards of those who wish to celebrate the Christian aspects of the holiday. Typically, the arrangement includes some rendition of a stable, along with Joseph, Mary, the infant Jesus, a donkey and a cow or ox, one or more angels, and one or more shepherds and sheep. Where possible, it generally includes a bright star shining over the stable. And some include three Magi and camels in their displays right away at Christmas, while others add them to the scene in the days to come.
St. Francis of Assisi, who died in 1226 after founding the Franciscan religious order, is credited with creating the first nativity scene.
These days, nativity scenes are widely available in many sizes, made from many different materials, and the depictions displayed in any given area may reflect the cultural heritage of the location, as seen in some of the photos of a nativity scene collection donated to and on display at St. Stephens UCC here in Merrill.