One of the most endearing and spiritual images we regularly see during the Christmas season is that of Mary and Joseph marveling over the birth of the newborn Jesus.
The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement offer an opportunity to experience the Lord’s Nativity in a unique way, with the annual Christmas Around the World Creche display. Nativity sets from all corners of the globe, made from a variety of materials, are available for viewing on the fifth floor of Graymoor’s Pius X building.
Scores of countries are represented in the display, including Nepal, Japan, France, Ireland, Germany, Indonesia, Nigeria, Ecuador, Italy, England and the United States, among many others. The display will be up throughout the month of December and into the first part of January.
The Christmas Around the World Creche display at Graymoor began with the late Father Joseph P. Egan, SA, who had a collection of Creches. It’s evolved now into a massive compilation of over 100 Creches from around the world.
The history of the Nativity scene dates back centuries.
St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order, created the first Nativity scene in the year 1223. While visiting the town of Greccio in Italy during Christmas, he became inspired to bring the story of Jesus’ birth to the people of the town. St. Francis fashioned a makeshift manger, brought in a group of animals and held a Midnight Mass in a cave adjacent to the mountain.
St. Bonaventure later wrote of St. Francis, “The man of God (St. Francis) stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant with joy; the Holy Gospel was chanted by Francis, the Levite of Christ. Then he preached to the people around the nativity of the poor King; and being unable to utter His name for the tenderness of His love, He called Him the Babe of Bethlehem.”
The visual of the Nativity brought much joy to the people of Greccio, and it rekindled their faith in God.
We invite you to visit Graymoor and view our Christmas Around the World display. We pray that you experience the same type of encounter with the newborn Christ as the people of Greccio did, and be brought face-to-face with the birth of Jesus in a deep and meaningful way during this Christmas season.
Graymoor Christmas Around the World Creche Display
Where: Fifth floor, Pius X Building, Graymoor
When: Now through the beginning of January