Friday, December 19, 2008
Christmas Creche Week starts Sunday
This painting,Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (also known as The Adoration)is exquisite.It was done by the master Caravaggio in 1609. Caravaggio was the first artist to master the use of chiaroscuro (Italian for light-dark).Chiaroscuro was a signature of his, and this beautiful piece is no exception.
It was stolen on October 16, 1969 from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily. It is the most valuable piece of art missing today. To learn more about Caravaggio and his troubled short life click here
In 1223, St. Francis created the first living Creche in a small cave in Italy. On Christmas Eve, he and others recreated the Nativity scene- in all its simplicity. This re-enactment is credited as the first living Creche (which is French for "manger")before that, the tableau had been displayed by the wealthy with gold and jewels.Because of St Francis,people began displaying creche's in a more realistic way.
Being a Catholic, I know the manger should be empty until Christmas Day.In our home, it has always been a tradition that the first thing we do is go to the Creche and say Happy Birthday Jesus. Then my youngest daughter gets the baby Jesus out of his hiding place and puts him in the manger where he now belongs.
An interesting tid-bit about the creche- the shepherds and wise men shouldn't arrive at the creche till after Christmas. In America, the figures are set out and leave them there for the season. However in many other countries they add and remove the figures based on the day. The shepherds shouldn't show up till the day after Christmas- so I guess now I'll be putting them out on the 26th. The Wise Men should be placed at the creche in early January-as in the scriptures. And the creche should stay up until until February 2nd, which is the feast day of the Presentation of the Lord.
The White House Christmas Creche, gift of Mrs Charles Engelhard Jr. in 1967, which sits in the East Room every Christmas season.
Sunday will start Christmas Creche Week, where I will share my Creche Collection with all you.
The birth of Jesus.
What Christmas is all about.
Or should be...