Meaning of Christmas Crib
The Christmas Crib
The word ‘crib’ originally meant a manger. Now it has come to mean a child’s bed or a tableau of Mary and Joseph gathered around a Babe in the stable. The appearance of the crib in our churches is a sure sign that Christmas is at the doorstep. It was St Francis of Assisi who popularized such a tableau. He had great devotion to the Infant Jesus and, wanting to share the happiness of that devotion with others, he enlisted the help of his friars and set up a replica of the first nativity. People, animals and even a tiny babe played their part.
This took place in Greccio, a small Italian village near Assisi in 1223 AD. His aim was to make the Christmas story come alive for the shepherds and farmers of the locality. It was a great success and before long, with the friars moving out and preaching in many places, the idea spread. Cribs now grace churches all over the world. We find them in public spots; stores use them to please and attract customers; and smaller ones are made to serve devotional purposes at the home.