Hard as it is to imagine, the season of Advent and the new liturgical year is just days away. As we are reminded each year, Advent is a season when Christians throughout the world rededicate themselves to waiting in hope. We anticipate the coming of Christ, the light of the world, who scatters the darkness of sin and shatters the bonds of death. We prepare to celebrate Christ’s coming in history at Christmas; we ponder the ways that he comes to us in mystery even now, especially in the Eucharist; and we look forward to his coming in glory at the end of time.
For the past six years, the McGrath Institute for Church Life has partnered with the Marian Library of Dayton, Ohio, bringing to Notre Dame’s campus an exhibit of crèches, or Nativity scenes, from around the world, and gathering members of the community to pray in procession and prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.
This year, the coronavirus pandemic prevents us from hosting our annual exhibit and pilgrimage. Instead, we invite you to reflect on the Incarnation in our digital Advent and Christmas Crèche Calendar—a beautiful retrospective selection of crèches from our previous six exhibits.
Once you sign up, you will receive a daily email starting this Sunday, November 29, 2020—the first Sunday of Advent—and continuing through January 10, 2021—the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Each day’s email will include an image and description of a crèche from a different part of the world, along with a brief prayer that you can offer for yourself and your loved ones. Click the button below to visit our website and sign up to receive our daily crèche emails, and feel free to share the link with family members, friends, and those in your parish or school communities.
Every time we celebrate the Mass, we pray that we might “be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope of the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” This year, millions of people throughout the world have known the burden of distress. Perhaps at no other time have we been so keenly aware of our shared need for hope amid times of darkness.
In contemplating the mystery of the Word made flesh, we are reminded that Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, God-with-us, and that he is with us still. Join us as we enter into this beautiful season. Join us “as we await the blessed hope of the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Featured image: A Dwelling for God crèche by Alphonse Yenji (Cameroon); courtesy of the International Crèche Collection of the Marian Library, University of Dayton; used with permission.