Interesting Facts About Nativity Scenes You Probably Didn't Know

You are probably familiar with the nativity scene - a staged decoration depicting the birth of Jesus typically displayed during the Christmas holidays. However, you might not know some of these interesting facts about nativity scenes and their history.

The First One was Created by Saint Francis of Assisi  Saint Francis of Assisi gets the credit for being the first one to create a nativity scene, back in the year 1223. His scene was a “living nativity” in which real actors and animals portrayed the characters. He was inspired by his own visit to the Holy Land, where he had seen the birthplace of Jesus. HIs goal was to focus the Christmas celebrations on Christ rather than on gift giving and materialism. The Nativity created by Saint Francis of Assisi was very popular and inspired other communities in many Catholic countries to put on similar displays.

What Does “Nativity” Mean?  The word “Nativity” comes from the Latin word “nativus”, which means born. As such, a nativity scene depicts the manger in which Jesus was born.   A Celebrity Waxwork Nativity Scene Caused Controversy in the UK Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London caused a stir in 2004 when they displayed a nativity scene featuring waxwork models of celebrities. David and Victoria Beckham stood in for Joseph and Mary, while Kylie Minogue was the Angel. Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Grant and Graham Norton were the shepherds, and George W. Bush, Tony Blair and the Duke of Edinburgh were the Magi. The Archbishop of Canterbury and a spokesperson for the Vatican were not pleased with the nativity scene and many people were offended.   There is a Correct Way to Set up a Nativity Scene There is a correct way to set up a nativity scene You might think that your nativity scene is fine as long as it features all of the right characters, but the position is important as well. Mary and Joseph should be placed on either side of the manger, with Mary closer to the baby Jesus. The wise men and the shepherds should be in a circle around the stable. The wise men were thought to be the last ones to arrive, so they should be the furthest away. Don’t forget the star above the roof and the Angel Gabriel, usually positioned hovering over the scene or inside the stable. Some families like to read the story from the bible out loud while setting up the scene and add each character as they are mentioned, which can be a great way to teach young children the nativity story. How do you like to set up your nativity scene?