Spain in crèche season

After six buses, three airplanes, several long hikes through and between terminals, and one rental car, we’ve arrived in Toledo at the height of crèche season. According to Rob, in some countries, there’s quite a competition this time of year in constructing the most elaborate and impressive crèche scene. I can’t yet tell whether Spain is one of those countries, but last night in our jet-lagged ramble around the marvelous warren-like alleyways of Toledo, we happened on an exquisite crèche.

It was an entire miniature villlage, with workers alongside wise men on laden camels, pilgrims and peasants. And my favorite part: actual live plants, bean sprouts and wheat grass, being tended by a tiny farmer. Of course! Why not incorporate living nature into this sculpted story of new birth, new aliveness, new turning toward the light?

Years ago I was working at a conference on religion and ecology, held on my campus. Our stunning new chapel had recently been completed: a place of awe and simple, profound beauty evocative of the caves where the first Christians had worshipped in secret. I loved the interior of the chapel from my first encounter. But one of the conference participants asked, where are the plants? Where is the living beauty of the earth in this sacred space?

Here in Toledo, in the littlest village.



One response to “Spain in crèche season

  1. Hi Trileigh,
    Your piece on the “crèche” in Spain makes me homesick. Time to get my “santons” back out of the basement and set up mine at home. I don’t know about the crèche competition that Rob mentions but in many, catholic countries and regions, it is simply not Christmas without a crèche. In France, many families set them up under the tree and build a different setting every year, or have a traditional one that is brought back out every year. It is part of our Xmas decorations, the tree, and the crèche… There is an extensive tradition in Provence where the santons are from and in many churches a living crèche with dressed up participants including baby, cow, donkey, sheep and angels as part of the midnight mass. See
    Enjoy the discovery of Spanish Christmas the celebrations!

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