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Christmas: the History and Origin of the Nativity Scene

Updated on December 5, 2011

Origins of the Nativity Scene during Christmas

Obviously, the nativity scene began the night Christ was born in Bethlehem but when did we start displaying it? The little baby Jesus lying in the manager. The Shepherds come to see him after hearing and seeing angels in the field.

The truth is, however, that the 3 wisemen probably didn't show up until Jesus was about two years old. So when setting up your display you should put them a bit to the east of the manger.

St Francis of Assissi

Due to his recent visit to the Holy Land and the traditional birthplace of Christ in 1223, St Francis of Assissi was inspired to create a representation of what it must have looked like when Jesus was born. He displayed the first Nativity Scene at his church.By doing this, he hoped to have more people come to worship God. Other churches were inspired to do the same thing and as time went on the tradition became associated with Christmas.

It is believed due to the tradition of the time, that Mary gave birth to Jesus in a cave and not a wooden barn. In those days, many people used caves as protection for their sheep and donkeys. When you picture a barn, I don't picture it to be a sanitary birthplace for a child but there was no room at the inn according to the Bible.

Today, it is often taken out because of people being "offended" by the religious part of it. In reality, the nativity is a beautiful way to show your love for Jesus. Yet, many cities still put out their nativity scenes. Hastings, MI is one of them.


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    • Smokes Angel profile image

      Smokes Angel 6 years ago from Broke Alabama

      thanks for the comment

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      I didn't know this. Our county courthouse still displays one even though there are complaints. I say hooray to them!