Like many Churches around the world, St Francis, being no different when it comes to having a crib service.
The service can be from one end of the scale, sedate and controlled to the other, joyful, and come what may, however here at St Francis its more towards the come what may end of the scale and we like to get the children to dress up and sing their favorite carols and to act out the nativity story. We usually end up with several Mary's, angels and shepherds, with the token Joseph and donkey, but that doesn’t matter, what matters is all the children have fun and get the flavor of the nativity story.
We also have small nativity scene or sometimes called a tableau, to the right of the church, usually where the statue of St Francis (our patron saint) sits for most of the year, as we tell the story during the service, the little statues are carried up by the children and placed in their spot in the scene.
Here at St Francis, we go with the fact that the three wise men took time to arrive at the stable, and we try to show that with their figures, so if your ever in the church after the crib service, (please visit, we are open during the week) have a look around, see if you can spot the wise men, they will be somewhere, on an altar, or perched on a window ledge or on a pulpit, making their way to the scene.
One last little fact to finish my little explanation, St Francis of Assisi, our patron Saint, and also I might add patron Saint of Animals is said to be credited with producing the first nativity scene in central Italy, it was his way of emphasising Christmas and the worship of Christ rather than concentrating on the decorations, ornaments and shiny baubles that tend to be a part of worship in churches and he even got the blessing of the pope of the day (Pope Honorius III) the best thing about this first nativity scene, it was a living one, with humans and animals making a starring role, so I think it’s so very right that our scene or tableau sits in his place in our church.