Monday, December 5, 2016


"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity." (Micah 5:2)

(All photos are from the annual Nativity Festival held at the Springfield Illinois CHIARA CENTER. Click here for website)

This Peruvian Retabios is 
unique to the Andes of 
South America. It is used to 
tell Bible stories to local 
indigenous folks who are 
not as educated as 

Native American (Southwestern USA)

 T'is the season for 
Nativity Sets, Nativity Scenes or Creches all over the world!  This is also the time of year when all kinds of debates happen across North America and Europe about Religious Liberty and Christianity.

From Germany, where the
 "Baby Jesus is not added to the
 Nativity Scene until
 after Christmas Eve!
From India, Mary in sari
All of this fades in light of the wonder and beauty of the true meaning of the Christmas season. It is precisely times like this which caused the great Francis of Assisi, over 800 years ago to create the first ever Live Nativity Scene. Francis (the founder of the Franciscan Order of Priests) noticed in his land of Italy, that people were more interested in the festive aspects of Christmas and gift giving than what Christmas really represents. So he got a cave, some real animals and began a tradition which has lasted ever since. We are so grateful to this kind and gentle saint, Francis for what he did.

Handmade classic from Italy
From Springfield, Illinois
Over these 800 years, with the rapid spread of Christianity, Christmas around the world has taken up a most unique flavor, for an event which honors the same person - Jesus Christ, the very Son of God! While visiting a recent Nativity Festival locally, the impressive array of depictions of the Birth of the Christ Child is so amazing to behold. The creativity and cultural differences between the nations are only surface deep when you really boil it down. However, each piece of artistic design and work reflects the strong individuality of every tribe and tongue.

From Korea
The photos here represent such a wide range of cultures: from Native American to Korean....from Honduras in Central America to Central Illinois....from Africa and India to the authentic olive wood, from the little town of Bethlehem. Some of the raw materials used are just phenomenal - from straw, to wood shavings to porcelain to marbel to brass etc....all manner of creation!! These sets of Nativity creches all show the love, devotion and detail which represent just a fraction of the wonder, majesty and magnificent of the Greatest Person Who ever walked this earth- the Lord Jesus Christ!
(Photos from the Nativity Festival at the Chiara Center, Springfield, Illinois - website here)
From Honduras, made from straw
From China, handcrafted w/some wood shavings

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