Poland: A Sense of Humor, Adam Wydra.

Polish nativities come with a sense of humor.  Heads nod in all directions; eyes laugh, and looking at the angel with the accordion, you can almost hear the sound of the polka.  The whole scene is dancing for joy or, at least gives that impression.  Even the ox seems to enjoy his lofty perch.

 

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France: A Feminine Touch, Monastic Nuns

Monasteries have been for generations a source of inspiration and support for the nativity tradition. Created in the late 1800s, this nativity has a very definite feminine touch: flowers and stars, little birds holding phylacteries with prayers, lambs, and enraptured parents hail the newborn king in his star strewn shirt. On the back of the creche mountain, a yellow snake rears his head.  Although entering into the darkest recesses of the human heart, the Christ Child is not yet the sole master of this world.

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United States: Like Wife, Like Husband,  Karin Howard.

Although in older representations of the nativity, Joseph rarely enjoyed great press, his dignity and holiness began to flower in Medieval times.   In the 17th and 19th centuries  he enjoyed a sometimes enthusiastic devotion, and was once defined as “Like wife, like husband.”  A new appreciation of Saint Joseph casts him in the role of solicitous husband and father figure.

 

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Switzerland: A Nativity for the Whole World, 

Bernadette Roten

The Holy Family, accompanied by sheep and donkeys is again on the move, a journey that takes them to the ends of the world.  Each of the five continents is represented with five figures illustrating history and culture, beauty and poverty, those who made history; those forgotten by it.  The figures are faceless, not to point out anonymity but universality.

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