MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — We wanted to talk about nativity scenes. What are they?
Guest: Oh, there’s so many different kinds of decorations this time of year. One of those decorations that we put out during Advent and the Christmas season is the nativity scene, whether they’re outside or inside in our homes and our churches.
Advent and Christmas bring us a beautiful scene of Christ’s birth. And it goes way, way back.
Guest: Where does this tradition come from exactly?
Guest: Yes, it’s attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi in the year 1223. He felt it necessary to bring this humble scene to the people. They had big cathedrals and he wanted to bring people’s focus back to the humbleness of Christ’s birth.
And he dug a cave out in the back of the cathedral. And he put up live animals.
He put live people, human beings, in there to play the various characters of the scene.
Anchor: It’s a very old tradition. But how did it become such an integral Christmas tradition for a lot of Christians?
One of the theories, perhaps, is that Bethlehem was taken over by the Turks at that time in the 13th century, and the Christian pilgrimage to Bethlehem couldn’t have happened. So Saint Francis of Assisi graciously invented this thing to bring it to us, to bring it to the people of Italy. And it spread ever since throughout Europe.
Anchor: How historically or biblically accurate is the nativity scene?
Guest: The Bible speaks of no animals. The Bible speaks of Magi coming within a two-year period. But we’re not specific on Three Kings. Definitely three gifts.
Also, of course, we have Mary and Joseph. Obviously, Baby Jesus in the stable, born in this humble state. So there is some accuracy.
But the nativity scene is really a combined abbreviation of the story as a whole.