Sunday, 12 December 2010

Christmas Crib Hunt.

After last week’s blog, the whole of this Nativity Scene thing has got me thinking and looking. I cannot ever remember noticing a Nativity Scene in a church when I was in the UK let alone looking at it closely, but that is more than 20 years ago and maybe my memory has just failed me. St DenisIn the Netherlands Nativity Scenes are strictly for Catholics only and I lived in staunch Protestant country, so I saw none there either. My friend Deacon Dale reliably informs me that his church only has one cow in the stall at the moment and that the rest of the crowd will arrive during the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. As I never went to midnight mass in the UK, that also does not help in jogging my memory. My only option is to check out as many Nativity Scenes as possible in the coming weeks.

This last week we were in Paris to celebrate Saint Nicholas with Cees’ children, an ideal opportunity to search out Nativity Scenes in the French capital. Notre Dame de ParisWe were staying in an apartment in Montmartre near the Sacre Coeur. In the Nativity Scene there everyone was there except Jesus, I think that even the wise men had made it which is a little illogical. They were all gathered around an empty manger lined with straw. We couldn’t take a photo because there was a big bouncer stopping people and when one Italian actually had the audacity to take a photo of the scene, she was pulled to one side forced to show all the photos she had taken and made to delete them on the spot ! So I can’t be 100% sure about the wise men. On to the Cathedral Basilica St Denis just north of Paris and this time everyone except the wise men and Jesus was there, which is more what I would have expected.

Our last Nativity Scene in Paris was in the Notre Dame and after queuing for about 20 minutes in the snow we finally got in and what a Nativity Scene it was too. Everyone was there except Jesus and the wise men, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the sheep, the donkeys, the cows and the angels had all made it. Cormatin near TaizéThe manger in the centre was lined with straw and then with white fur - yes these Parisians know how to look after their babies !

Back home and a trip to Taizé showed no further activity in the stall, still no animals or shepherds and Mary and Joseph were still on their way to Bethlehem. On to Cormatin and there the wise men had arrived, but still no baby Jesus and in Cluny there was a full accompaniment even the baby was there - truly a mixed bag.

So far, I think one can deduce that those who actually know the story, make sure that the appropriate persons are present at the appropriate times - but I am still on the case.

Our accommodation near Taizé is detailed on La Tuilerie Website.

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