It’s been a pleasure to see the presepe (nativity scenes) throughout our travels in Italy; in public spaces, shop windows and most unexpectantly in our accommodation. Far, far more than you would see back in Britain.
St Francis of Assisi apparently created the first nativity scene in 1223, attempting to place the emphasis of Christmas upon the worship of Christ – rather than secular materialism and gift giving. Not sure that succeeded in the long-term but at least Italy is trying its best to keep the Christian spirit alive. With trucks being driven into Christmas markets not so far away surely that’s not a bad thing.
Throughout Europe there has been calls to remove nativity scenes from schools and other public places – by secularists, other religions, the ‘easily offended’ and the diversity brigade. The battle for the soul of Europe in miniature.