Monday, December 24, 2012

The Nativity Tradition

     Abraham Lincoln once said , "I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." It's a sentiment I share, and so did St Francis of Assisi.
This is a Nativity ornament sent to me by my dear friends who are missionaries in Israel.

     Of all my lifelong Christmas traditions, the Nativity Scene has always been my favorite. As a child I was fascinated with the miniature creche and Jesus' story displayed under our tree, allowing me to lie on my belly and use the figurines to act out the scene each year.  In the picture below, which I previously shared, you can see my parents have continued the tradition.

     St Francis started the tradition of recreating the birth of Jesus with living animals and people in the 13th Century. He was devoted to the idea that all of us are responsible for providing for those in need, both humans and animals. St Francis believed that the best way to get others to rejoice in the Lord and Heaven was to represent Jesus well here in this life.  In fact,  the prayer of St. Francis, which is not specific to any one branch of Christianity or for that matter any type of faith, is an inspiring prayer for all of us, including our friends of other faiths and backgrounds.

     Nothing epitomizes Christmas more than the Nativity tradition of St Francis.  Both human and animal were gathered to celebrate and acknowledge our Christmas gift.  We can all sleep in Heavenly peace knowing what Christmas brings.  Merry Christmas! 

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