Nativity Scenes from Around the World
Come view a beautiful and diverse selection of international crèches at Saint James’ Episcopal Church in Arlington through January 8. Collected by church parishioner and world traveler Roger Cooper, the collection of nativity scenes, titled ‘Los Nacimientos,’ reflects the art and culture of the many places he lived during his career as an international banker. Among the countries represented are Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Peru, Ecuador, Canada – both Inuit and Anglo – as well as Europe, China, the United States and even the Vatican.
The Spanish word ‘nacimiento’ means ‘the birth place’ and refers to a nativity scene. In Mexico, where Roger was born, the nacimiento takes precedence over the Christmas tree as the focal point of the home during the Christmas season. Although depictions of the Nativity were known from the earliest Christian times, it wasn’t until 1223, when Saint Francis of Assisi organized a Nativity scene using live animals in Greccio, Italy, that the appreciation of this special holy scene took root and grew. From Italy, the custom of making Nativity tableaux was adopted in France and Spain, then in other parts of the world, following the spread of Christianity via exploration and colonization. So it was that the nacimiento arrived in the New World with the friars and conquistadors in the 16th century.
The scenes on display at Saint James’ are created using materials and techniques native to the particular cultures that created them, including papier mâché, ceramics, wood, minerals such as Vermont marble, stained glass and natural materials. Come see how other cultures celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ birth in this wide-ranging, imaginative and artistic display. The display is on view during the following times: Sundays, before and after the 8 and 10 a.m. worship services; Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on December 24, before and after the 5 p.m. Christmas Eve service; on Christmas Day, December 25, before and after the 10 a.m. service; on New Year’s Day, January 1, before and after the 10 a.m. service; and on Sunday, January 6, Feast of the Epiphany, before and after the Messiah Sing-Along at 3 p.m. For further information, call 802-375-9952 or visit stjamesarlingtonvt.org.