The first Christmas crib was
assembled in 1223.
Can you Describe the First Live Nativity Scene?
In a cave on a windswept Italian mountainside, Francis of Assisi assembled the first Christmas crib in 1223. The Christ Child, placed on an altar of stone, and two live animals -- an ox and a donkey -- were its only occupants.
Today, a tiny monastery surrounds the cave, which still remains relatively undisturbed by the years. The idea behind the crib was to make the story of Christ's birth more vivid in the minds of shepherds and farmers who lived there. The townspeople were very enthusiastic -- they were the ones who suggested the ox and donkey.
What is the belief behind the Twelve Days of Christmas song?
One of the holiday's best-loved songs, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," marks the longest holiday in the Christian calendar -- the time between Christmas Day and Epiphany, celebrated on January 6.
The song's origin is unknown, but some believe the song was written to help Catholic children remember various articles of faith. These are:
A partridge in a pear tree
Two turtle doves
Old and New Testaments
The Twelve Days of Christmas Song
represents the various articles of faith
Faith, Hope, and Charity
Four calling birds
Five golden rings
The first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, which records the history and laws of ancient Israel
Six geese a-laying
Six days of Creation
Seven swans a-swimming
Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, or the Seven Sacraments
Eight maids a-milking
Nine ladies dancing
Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten lords a-leaping
Eleven pipers piping
Eleven faithful disciples
Twelve drummers drumming
Twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed
Where is the World's Largest Nativity Scene located?
With more than 450 figures and hundreds of yards of landscape, the world's largest diorama of the Nativity is found in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. In the 1930s, crib maker Ferdinand Pottmesser built a giant Christmas crib along with hundreds of figurines.
Pottmesser sold the collection to Einsiedeln in the mid-1950s, and the figurines became the impetus for creating a giant diorama -- a copy of the landscape of Bethlehem and a visually accurate representation of the story of the birth of Christ.
The diorama starts with angels awakening the shepherds with news of the birth of Jesus and ends with Joseph and Mary fleeing into Egypt to escape Herod and his soldiers. The diorama attracts thousands of visitors every year.
What is the Meaning of the Word “Xmas?”
Some people think of Xmas as a contemporary, sacrilegious
abbreviation of the word Christmas. On the contrary, the first letter of the
word Christ in the Greek language is chi, which is identical to the modern
Roman alphabet's X.
Xmas is an ecclesiastical abbreviation.
Therefore, Xmas is an ecclesiastical abbreviation that has been used for almost as long as Christmas has been in existence.
What is the story behind The Birthplace of Jesus?
It was prophesied in Micah 5:2 that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the future King of the Jews. Indeed, this small Judean city near Jerusalem became the site of the Nativity. Bethlehem, which means "house of bread," was also the home of David, one of God's favorite kings.
Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger.
Though the exact location of Jesus' birth is unknown, the story maintains that Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger, or food trough. In those days, stables were made of stones or situated in a cave.
Around A.D. 326-330, Empress Helena, wife of Constantine, built a church over the cave thought to be Jesus' birthplace. The church was rebuilt in the sixth century, and pieces of the original building still remain. It is said to be the oldest Christian church in existence and one of the most genuinely holy sites in the Holy Land.
This altar inside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is
believed to mark the exact place of Jesus' birth.
Who was Good King Wenceslas?
“Good King Winceslas looked out on the Feast of Stephen when the snow lay round about deep and crisp and even.” King Wenceslas, about whom John Neale wrote this carol, became Duke of Bohemia in A.D. 924. He was a man of great faith who worked diligently to thread Christianity throughout Bohemia.
King Wenceslas served his people very well, especially the children and the poor. But his reign lasted only five years. His brother, Boleslaw, invited Wenceslas to a religious festival, then attacked and murdered him on the way there.
that you’ve discovered some surprising new religious trivia,
continue to the next page. There, you'll travel to England, Mexico, and Germany to test
your Christmas traditions trivia.