For today's Sacred Sunday shot, on this 9th day of Christmas, instead of bringing you 9 ladies dancing, we take you inside the home of one of Greensboro's many Francophiles and share her creche from Provençe. Our friend amassed this grand collection piece by piece during her many decades of traveling from Greensboro to France.
Santons are terra cotta figures depicting the nativity. The first representation of the nativity, albeit life sized, was by St. Francis of Assissi in 1223. However, the French Revolution, with its closing of churches and prohibiting of nativity scenes, popularized miniature nativity scenes made from terra cotta figures. The making of santons has been popular in Provençe since the late 1700's and is a family craft handed down through the generations. The figures represent actual villagers-- shepherds, millers, woodcutters, fish mongers, a blind man, the wise men-- all marveling at the birth of Christ, whose figure is depicted with wax.
Every Christmas, our friend in Sunset Hills brings her figurines down from the attic and intricately places them one by one recreating not only the nativity scene but also her memories of trips to France and her selecting the 2" figures, all crafted by santonnier, Marcel Carbonel. As we pen this post, Madame M's voice resounds, "Bonsoir Joseph, Marie, enfant Jésus, fermier.......Ça va, rabassier?......... et les Rois Mages........comment allez-vous ce soir?"Only after she makes sure that all 50+ figures are in place can she step outside and enjoy the hundreds and hundreds of Christmas light balls hurled into the canopy of mature trees lining her street.