By Sister Nancy Linenkugel, OSF
Anyone who knows me isn’t surprised that I don’t have tchotchke things around. I’ve never been a collector of anything. Yes, I own a ton of music but not much else. Not even books; I have a handful of favorites and that’s it.
However, what you do see on display is several Christmas cards with the Greccio scene. And I mean on display year round, not just for Christmas.
To me, it’s a marvelous thing that our very own St. Francis of Assisi “invented” the manger scene. As he strove to be just like Christ, when it came to the Incarnation, Francis simply wanted everyone to experience what the Gospel stories were conveying about the story of Christ’s birth.
This is why deacon Francis assembled animals and townspeople to dramatize the Christmas story. The baby was a doll figurine and legend has it that when Francis held up the doll to heaven, the doll briefly came to life and smiled at Francis.
Many persons, including Franciscans, are very taken with this simple illustrative method of Francis from 1223, just three years before he died. Because of that, manger scenes have abounded the world over for the past 700 years. It might be a life-size outdoor manager scene, it might be a very expensive hand-carved ornate indoor scene, or it might be a small plastic version inside an ornament. Manger scenes are everywhere.
So I keep on display year ‘round favorite Christmas cards depicting St. Francis and the crèche. Could you put them away?