O Come Let Us Adore Him – Crèches From Africa

Explore the 6th Annual International Crèche Exhibit featuring African crèches that are exhibited on campus November 27, 2019 – January 12, 2020, through pictures and descriptions in this booklet.

In this year’s crèche exhibit, we witness the stunning diversity of the Christian message as these crèches from throughout Africa reflect the rich traditions of a variety of countries and cultures. From the simply carved wooden crèche to the most elaborately painted and decorated, each offers a different meditation on the Christmas story while sharing a deep reverence for the mystery of the Incarnation, seeking to enflesh in wood and ceramic and cloth the moment when “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Christ joins our human family, and some crèches image how he would be welcomed with songs and gifts and great rejoicing. He joins our poverty and our work, and many crèches denote a fondness for the shepherds, who embody the rich agricultural heritage of many African countries. All of these Nativity scenes, however, remind us that the central figure is a tiny Child.

As each figure pauses in a posture of adoration, they invite us to marvel at the humility of a God who would not only join our ordinary, mundane lives but redeem them by his coming. We pause in adoration with Mary and Joseph, the kings, the shepherds, and all the animals. We come with our families, and like the shepherds, we leave our work unfinished to focus totally on the wonderful moment in front of us, contemplating the mystery of Christ’s acceptance of every part of human life—from the joy of new birth in the warmth of family to the agony of death in the pain of the Cross. In this mystery, we find the courage to bring every part of our lives before the Christ-Child. For even the most brightly decorated crèche never allows us to forget that Jesus came in humility, in poverty, without a home; and he opens his tiny arms wide to welcome our own humiliation, poverty, and homelessness.

So come, let us adore him. Let us bring our whole lives to the God who wholly entered into humanity, and in so doing, made humanity holy. As we pause in reverent attention before each beautiful crèche, let us bring to this moment of wonder and adoration not only the joy and hope of Advent and Christmas, but the very brokenness that Christ came into the world to bear and to heal. And as we, like the shepherds, return to whatever work fills our days, bring the stillness and peace of this adoration back into our lives, letting the peace of Christ—the peace of Christmas—control our hearts and minds (see Colossians 3:15).

December 1, 2019

Art and HistoryReligion and PhilosophyMcGrath Insitute for Church LifeAfricaChristianityArtReligion