Every year when I unpack our Christmas decorations, I always look forward to unwrapping the Nativity set that I inherited from my parents. The plaster figures are chipped and worn from years of my sisters and me playing with them. Small pieces of Jesus’ nose are missing from all the kisses he received from Joseph and Mary. The paint on the back of the donkey shows the many rides we had Mary take on its back. In short, it was well loved and brought us all closer to the story of Jesus’ birth—even in our own unique ways.
Those memories would not be possible, though, without St. Francis, who is credited with creating the first Nativity scene in 1223 in Greccio, Italy. Now, nearly 800 years later, his fellow Franciscan Brother Tim Sucher carries on that connection with the crèche. For Brother Tim, it started at the age of 3 and has continued to grow over the years. During that time, he has collected Nativity scenes from around the world, and every year he sets them up for people to see at St. Francis Seraph Parish and Friary in Cincinnati, Ohio. There is even a live Nativity outside in the church’s courtyard. You can see some of his collection of Nativity sets and read his story here.
For St. Francis, the Nativity scene represented a human connection with Christ. May it serve as a reminder to us today to be witnesses to the miracle of Christmas and what that means in our lives.
We hope you have a very blessed and joyous Christmas!