Credited with the first nativity scene is St. Francis of Assisi in 1223. His hope is said to have been getting people to emphasize the birth of Christ over secular materialism. In exactly one week, Christians will be balancing the delight of gift giving with deciding whether or not to attend church as Christmas is on Sunday this year.
The above Peruvian crèche is one of many offered for sale at 10,000 Villages. Since we didn't make out to Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church to see their Living Nativity, we're having to settle for these little hand-crafted scenes of wonder. Manger scenes are especially popular in Catholicism and many people don't actually take them down until February 2nd.
If you celebrate Christmas, try to find time to catch your breath today as this time next week you will be in holiday frenzy. If you own a crèche, be sure to talk to it in the language of its country of origin. The above clay, baby Jesus is precious with his little cap and, to him, we whisper, "Feliz navidad." If you talk to Santa, tell him we'd love to find this crèche under the tree.