One of our church’s preoccupations this autumn, was the quest for a new Christmas crib. The old one:
was feeling a little tired. Baby Jesus’s head would come off and fall out of the swaddling clothes if you held him upside down. The wise men’s camel also somehow lost his head this year, and was found in two pieces in his box.
How do you replace something that has been in use for more years than you can remember? The trouble with doing this in church is, that although no one can remember where the object in question came from, or how long you’ve had it, as soon as you dispose of it someone comes out of the woodwork in high dudgeon because they presented it to the church in loving memory of their late great aunt Agatha, and expected it to be used and cherished until the Parousia if not longer.
My idea was that we would invite the congregation to work together to create a new crib (or cribs) and from the resulting creations we would choose the best to be our new crib.
For some time nothing happened. Then suddenly we were (pleasantly) overwhelmed by the results: some knitted, some cast from commercially produced moulds and painted, some originally modelled in salt dough or clay.
It was amazing to see the difference a coat of paint made even to the identical moulds. They can look Chinese:
or something very different:
But my favourites are the genuine originals, by children, amateurs and more professional artists:
I’m still not sure we’ve found our permanent replacement yet. But don’t you just love Hannah (10)’s angel: