Monday, December 18, 2017

Nativity - Traditional French

During the Christmas Season nativity scenes are found in nearly every Catholic Church in France.  The big problem is getting into the churches to enjoy them.  It is usually only major churches in larger cities that open their churches on a regular basis.  It is difficult to visit the interiors of small village churches.  This year we discovered a way to visit a few of the small village churches around us. 

One day on our way to visit the Dampt family we noticed a small billboard in a very small village announcing "Chemin des Creches" that pricked our interest.  When we arrived at the Dampts we explained what we saw but they were unaware of such a thing.  We expected that, by the name, there would be several places to see creches/nativities.  A couple of days later I mentioned the "Chemin des Creches" to the Biver family and they knew nothing about it either.  However, the following Wednesday, Brother Biver gave me a small brochure his wife had found regarding the "Chemin des Creches".   As it happens there were a total of twenty-two village churches participating in the "Chemin des Cresches".  Approximately ten of them were within a half hour of our apartment so we decided we would try to visit a few.  Problem was that their open house schedules were very restricted to a couple of Saturdays and Sundays.

This past weekend we went to visit six of the villages churches participating in the "Chemin des Creches" event.  As its happened our first church was by far the best.  It probably had a hundred or so creches from around the world.  A little different than we had expected - we had anticipated one super nice creche in each of the churches.  The other churches had a few creches but nothing like the first.  We particularly enjoyed some of the creches from the Champagne-Ardennes area.  Many were made of straw.  We were able to appreciate creches from around the world which caused us to think of our hundred plus creches at home and how we might host a Ward Christmas event at our Ward once we are back home.
Church Nativity - Eglise Saint-Martin - Guignicourt-sur-Vence, France
The creche/nativity pictured above was not one of the display creches but rather the church nativity.  As per French tradition this creche is void of the baby Jesus.  He will arrive on Christmas eve to complete the Birth of Christ scene.

Stained Glass Nativity - Cathedral Notre-Dame - Verdun, France
 Stained Glass Nativity

Here are two more of the stained glass nativities we have found here in France.  The one above, from Verdun, is interesting from the point of view of the gifts being offered - mostly produce, including grapes.  We each have something a little different to offer Christ but when it all boils down our gift is one of love.  May we each offer the Savior our love through obedience to His commandments, faithfulness to our covenants and perseverance to the end.

The one below is a recent find.  We found it a bit Christmasy with its colors of green - they don't show as brightly in the photo as they did in person.  Joseph and Mary alone in the stable, with the animals, contemplating the wondrous event of the birth of Christ.  May we each find some quiet time to meditate and consider the glorious event of the Birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and His importance in our life.
Stained Glass Nativity - Elise Saint-Martin - Guignicourt-sur-Vence, France
 Coq of the Week

This coq was watching over the creches displayed in the Church Saint-Michel in the village of Boulzicourt, France.  With lights upon him, he seemed to be inviting all to come see the baby Jesus lying in the manger.   If the ox and the donkey watched over the baby Jesus where he lay, why not the coq?  Certainly there were coqs in the stable that night long ago.

Like many others, this coq has obviously taken a beating or two over the years, but..... he has not given up.  Each of us will have our beatings during this earthly life but we must not give up.  May we stand true and faithful unto the the coq.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint-Michel - Boulizicourt, France

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