The Christmas crib



Many of those who celebrate Christmas are in the habit of making the crib, which is a model of the nativity of Christ.

The Roman Catholic Catechism says the following things about the origins of the Christmas crib: ‘Saint Francis of Assisi was very much devoted to the mystery of the birth of the Saviour. He would often wake up at midnight to worship Jesus in the hour in which he was born. Later, in 1220, he asked and obtained from pope Onorius III permission to make the crib during the midnight Mass at Christmas in the middle of a wood which was next to the monastery of Greccio. He took some stones, some moss and some branches of trees and made a sort of cave in which he put a manger, a ox and a donkey, and an altar to celebrate Mass. A big crowd came to the church ceremony illuminating the wood with torches. Later the crib was made of statuettes, first in the territory round Naples towards the fifteenth century, then in Sicily and in some other Italian regions and in some regions abroad’ (Giuseppe Perardi, Il Nuovo Manuale del Catechista [The New Catechist Handbook], pages 143-144).

Making the Christmas crib may seem to many people a sign of great devotion towards the Saviour, the crib may seem even very beautiful, yet it is something which opposes the Scripture, for a Christian by making it breaks the commandment of God which forbids us to make for ourselves a carved image (Exodus 20:4). That’s why this custom must be rejected.

Beloved, remember the birth of Jesus Christ, but remember it often and not only once a year, and remember it in the simplicity of your heart meditating on all those passages of the Scripture which speak of it.

For if the Holy Spirit moved Matthew and Luke to write various things about the birth of Jesus that means that God wants us to remember all the events that marked His birth. However, more than His birth you should remember His death and His resurrection which took place for our justification. And speak about these two events to one another and to those who don’t know God, so that they might believe on them with all their heart and thus might be delivered from sin.