Nativity plays are a much loved feature of Christmas.
As children many of us take part in them. As adult we enjoy watching children performing in them. But back in the early thirteenth century they didn’t exist. It is widely believed that the tradition began with St Francis of Assisi in 1223.
Following a visit to Bethlehem, St Francis was inspired to stage the first nativity play in a cave in Greccio, Italy.
Using humans and animals to play the key roles, he aimed to bring the Christmas story to life in a powerful new way.
Word quickly spread and and local people arrived with torches and candles to join him in celebrating Christ’s birth.
His idea proved popular and soon communities across Italy and beyond were creating similar events.
With many Christ-filled blessings