Minister’s December Message
December 01, 2018
When we were on holiday in Portugal in October, Graham and I visited the Igreja de Sao Francisco [Church of Saint Francis] in Evora. Despite the fact that I found the famous church decorated with the bone of 5000 monks very disturbing, I was delighted to discover a collection of one hundred and fifty Nativity scenes on display in its upstairs gallery. 60% of the nativities were from Portugal and they were all shapes and sizes and made of various materials. They were very beautiful and part of a private collection of over two thousand pieces owned by local residents, Fernando and Fernanda Cahna da Silva. The couple wanted to share their love of nativity scenes with the public and as Saint Francis Assisi began the tradition of recreating nativity scenes for 13th century Christmases, they felt that a church dedicated to him was a suitable place for their collection.
I enjoyed seeing the exhibition as I have always loved Nativity scenes. I have collected a few Nativity scenes myself but I especially love the one that Isobel Blanchflower and Joan Steel so artistically and beautifully assemble for us here at Greenbank each year. This year, the Nativity scene is going to be placed in our link building so many more people can have the opportunity of seeing it. I am looking forward to seeing it completed and knowing that so many more people will have the privilege of seeing such a lovely reminder of the Christmas story.
Since the time of Francis of Assisi nearly 800 years ago, people have been trying to recreate and capture the very beginning of the Christmas story – that holy moment of wonder when Jesus was born in Nativity Scenes. However, no nativity scene can truly capture the Christmas story, as it is one that is still unfolding in the lives of those who believe that God, through His Son Jesus Christ, still continues to give birth to the love that can change the world. In the weeks to come, in the various Nativity scenes that we view, may we see in them a reminder of the constant and unconditional love God gives to us and to the whole world in Jesus, not just at Christmastime but, in every day and night of the year.
Have a happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
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