The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, highlights the sheer simplicity of the significance of the symbol of the crib in his 2019 Christmas video message to his Diocese.
The Bishop is seen assembling his own crib set at his home in Chichester: “Every year as we prepare for Christmas here in Chichester, like any home and family, we also prepare the Christmas crib.
“We assemble the players and the actors, including Mary and Joseph, and at the centre of it all is the manger, the crib, where the Christ child will be laid and adored and worshipped.”
The tradition for many Christians is that a crib is assembled in time for the Christmas celebrations but that the baby is only added at midnight services on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day itself when the final candle of Advent is also lit.
Dr Warner explains: “And as we build the crib, as we create the focus here, so we also prepare to hear the song of the angels. The song announces not just glory in heaven but the the gift of the Christ child. This is the gift of peace on earth, the gift of goodwill for all people (and between all people) . This is what is at the heart of our Christmas celebrations.”
The Bishop adds: “As we build the crib I’m minded that we are also doing is seeking to build our home and family, our society and community as well as to build our church and congregations.
“My hope and prayer is that our Christmas celebrations will also bring us the gift of peace and goodwill for all people. These are the gifts Jesus bequeaths to us and asks us to share in the world today.
“May God bless you as you celebrate your Christmas and may peace and goodwill be the gifts that you receive.”