Nativity Scene


I can create and reflect on a Nativity Scene

Nativity Scene

Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds

 by Bernardino Luini

Discussion Questions

The History of the Nativity Scene

St. Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first Nativity Scene in 1223. On Christmas Eve, St. Francis invited his brother friars and the townspeople to a cave in Grecco, Italy. There he set up an empty manger, or a feeding trough for animals, surrounded by hay. He even brought in a live ox and a donkey! That night, in the cave, a Mass was celebrated with these symbols of Christ’s birth serving as a reminder of the poverty and humbleness of the way Christ came into the world.

To this day, it is a tradition of the Franciscan religious order to have a Nativity Scene set up year-round as a constant reminder of Christ’s coming and of His poverty and humility. During Advent, the Nativity Scene is a visual way for us to contemplate the events of Christ’s birth and the coming of our Savior. It is traditional to leave the manger empty until Christmas Eve and then place a statue or representation of the Baby Jesus in the manger on the day of His birth.

Activity 1: Create Your Own Nativity Scene

Color and cut out the various parts and assemble them into your own Nativity Scene (you can either tape or glue the pieces to the crèche). Remember to leave the manger empty until Christmas. Then, on Christmas, when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, you can add the cutout of the Baby Jesus. I encourage you to take your Nativity Scenes home to display throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons (or year-round, as in the Franciscan tradition).