BY MARY SAYAD  

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    HISTORY OF THE FIRST NATIVITY SCENE
    Christmas 2010

    The first nativity scene was started in the year 1223in Greccio, Italy on Christmas Eve in a cave near Assisi by St. Francis.  His passion and great love for Jesus fueled his desire to re-create Jesus’ birth for all to see.  He believed that people needed to remember as well as experience the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. St. Francis used real people, a live ox and donkey as well as real shepherds.  He referred to the manager as a “creche”, which is a French word meaning cradle.  He named the entire nativity scene, “creche”.  

    With lit torches, the local townspeople and Friars approached and commemorated the very first enactment of Christ’s nativity with much fervor and joy.  Near midnight, St. Francis along with the Friars celebrated Mass in front of the manger. 

    Later, other churches followed his example with the live nativity scene.  Afterward, from these scenes, statues were designed and displayed in the many churches and then were subsequently made available for homes.

    St. Francis is also known as the patron saint of animals, the environment and Italy.

    When we keep Christ in our hearts, minds and homes all year round, we strengthen our Christian virtues.  Aristotle said that you have a virtuous society when you have a virtuous people.  Integrity and honor reinforce a nation one person at a time, through stable families and by emulating the Holy Family.  Live a faithful and prayerful life by teaching your children to love and trust Jesus, Mary and Joseph in all their lifelong needs.  Remember, the family that prays together, stays together!

    May you and your families be Blessed with the Infant Jesus’ Divine love and guidance!  Merry Christmas to you and your families!

    Your companion in prayer,
     Mary Sayad