P Zahner: October 2018
THERE'S A BABY IN MY DINNER ... and it's just not fair!
(For pictures of some of the scenes please go to the 'Galleries' section)
Mary "gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" Luke 2 verses 7-8
How do you picture that ?
Well, the donkey in a poem displayed recently at Hilton was clearly not best pleased with the new addition to his feeding trough but those who came to see more than 100 Christmas cribs at the end of November were of a different opinion. They were fascinated by the huge variety of materials used to portray the Holy Family and the occasion of the birth of our Saviour. Who'd have thought you could make a crib from river mud, raffia, foil, rolled paper or wood thorn not to mention the more usual materials we see used in the UK : wood, plastic, felt and porcelain ? The favourites in this category were the cribs in foil and rolled paper.
Most visitors at the end of November were captivated by the dress of the key characters in a variety of different local costumes. Fingers pointed to the detailed presentation from India where lionesses also feature, the stocky colour-rich figures from Peru where llamas sit quietly at the side of the crib and the baby lies in a hammock or the Red Indian Nativity where the baby looks out of his papoose. The African cribs show the village people bringing musical instruments to the crib.
There was humour in some cribs. The male figures in the crib of rolled paper from Vietnam all sported a moustache and the one from North America where a mohican makes a visit to the crib.
And there was a bigger picture message in each of the cribs, too. Some showed Jesus as a King, born to parents wearing crowns or decked in gold. Others that the birth was the first step towards the cross and resurrection. The European ones tended to show a quiet and peaceful response to Christmas and the African ones a lively and joyous one. That all are welcome to come, rich and poor, to see the baby in a manger was obvious in many cribs where the local village and towns people brought gifts to Jesus and recalled in our minds that verse in a well known carol:
What can I bring him, poor as I am ?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb;
If I were Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him; give my heart.
We are grateful to Marjorie and John Carrier who have been collecting cribs since 2010 and who were willing to loan the cribs to us. Whether or not you were among the 280 visitors to the cribs we hope you enjoy the photos and find that they provoke conversations this Christmas about the birth of a Saviour, born 2,000 years ago.
We also ask you to hold in your prayers the work of the charities to which we sent our donations: the "Little Princess Trust" and a charity which sends bicycles to poorer countries.
We also ask you to hold free the afternoon of 1st December, 2019 when the circuit is planning a circuit Christmas Cribs event to which all will be invited to bring their own crib to a circuit afternoon of cribs and a circuit service.
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Huntingdon Methodist Church