Nativity scenes have been part of Christmas for hundreds of years. Some of them are really cheesy. Marko has a list of the 20 worst nativity sets he has ever seen.
I took my family on an adventure to seek out the original source of the nativity scene. Our pilgrimage took us to a small but famous town on top of a hill in Italy, where a young guy with a strange hairdo started a movement that shook the world.
Where were we?
We were in Assisi where Francis grew up to become St Francis of Assisi. This town is also associated with the nativity scene or creche. However, it was the town of Grecio that St Francis allegedly set up the first Nativity scene in 1223.
"Then he prepared a manger, and brought hay, and an ox and an ass to the place appointed. The brethren were summoned, the people ran together, the forest resounded with their voices, and that venerable night was made glorious by many and brilliant lights and sonorous psalms of praise. The man of God [St. Francis] stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant with joy; the Holy Gospel was chanted by Francis, the Levite of Christ. Then he preached to the people around the nativity of the poor King" Source