The story of Jesus' birth was told more than 300 times last weekend in a display of Nativity scenes at Bowling Green Alliance Church. The church's annual “Come to the Stable” exhibit featured a variety of creches from around the world.
“The Nativity scene is one of the many symbols of hope related to the Christmas season,” said the Rev. Mark Blake, pastor.
The first Christmas Nativity scene, depicting the birth site of Jesus Christ in a Bethlehem stable, is credited to St. Francis of Assisi.
In the year 1223, St. Francis sought to make midnight Mass especially memorable for residents of Greccio, Italy, and set up an outdoor display using statues of Mary and Joseph, a doll to represent baby Jesus, and live animals to depict the manger scene.
Miniature Nativity scenes became popular in Europe in the 17th century.
Today most model creches are made of wood, ceramic, or plastic, but many churches set up “living Nativity scenes” during the holidays using real people posing as the Holy Family and the three magi, surrounded by live animals.