Sacred Nativities

Quesnel's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints open their nativity display

Quesnel’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints presented their Exibit of Christmas Nativities on the weekend with a total of 84 different nativities scenes. Of those 20 are homemade

Quesnel’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints presented their Exibit of Christmas Nativities on the weekend with a total of 84 different nativities scenes. Of those 20 are homemade

The story of the birth of baby Jesus in the manger in the stable has reverently been told and retold down through generations of Christians. The impulse to portray the miraculous event is almost as old as the story itself; the earliest known picture of the Nativity, a wall decoration, dates to 380 A.D.

The gentle St. Francis of Assissi is believed to have created the first three-dimensional model of the manger scene in 1224, when he setup a Nativity scene with real people and animals to demonstrate the wonder of the first Christmas day to the ordinary folk of Greccio, in what is now Italy. His innovation quickly spread across central Europe. Townspeople came together to make their own Nativity scenes, some very humble, others magnificently decorated with carved angels, delicate woodwork and elaborate sculptures.

The custom of crafting a realistic miniature of the nativity scene was brought to America by Moravian immigrants, who came from the Austrian borderlands to the new world during the 1700s. Their little nativity has since become an important part of the Christmas celebration in North America and around the world – a tradition and yet ever changing art form that brings the wonder and beauty of the first Christmas into hearts and homes, reminding everyone that  Christmas celebrations do centre on the birth of Jesus.