104. As is well known, in addition to the representations of the crib found in churches since antiquity, the custom of building cribs in the home was widely promoted from the thirteenth century, influenced undoubtedly by St. Francis of Assisi’s crib in Greccio. Their preparation, in which children play a significant role, is an occasion for the members of the family to come into contact with the mystery of Christmas, as they gather for a moment of prayer or to read the biblical accounts of the Lord’s birth.
Here’s a question for you readers: does this scene belong in church? I heard of a “dramatization” in another parish near mine in which the figurine of the infant Jesus arrived in the crib via “zipline” from the choir loft. Perhaps that is not sufficiently serene for the event if commemorates.
Another question: what do you make of the “living” Nativity scenes? Do these have a place.
The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.