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The beloved tradition of the manger scene originated with St. Francis of Assisi at Christmas, 1223, in the little town of Greccio, Italy.  St. Francis said, "I wish to do something that will recall to memory the little Child who was born in Bethlehem and set before our bodily eyes in some way the inconveniences of his infant needs, how he lay in a manger, how, with an ox and an ass standing by, he lay upon the hay where he had been placed."


"Men and women of that neighborhood prepared with glad hearts, according to their means, candles and torches to light up that night that has lighted up all the days and years with its gleaming star."


"Simplicity was honored, poverty was exalted, humility was commended, and Greccio was made, as it were, a new Bethlehem."


"The people came and were filled with new joy over the new mystery."


"Saint Francis stood before the manger, uttering sighs, overcome with love,
and filled with a wonderful happiness."


"The night was lighted up like the day, and it delighted men and beasts."


"At length the solemn night celebration was brought to a close, and each one returned to his home with holy joy."

All quotations are from The First Life of St Francis, by Thomas of Celano, written shortly after the saint's death.

 

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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303