by Joe Bollig
LAWRENCE — How do you like your camels — one hump or two?
It really doesn’t matter when it comes to Nativity creches. In addition to the Holy Family, one “must have” thing for the traditional creche is a camel, regardless of the number of humps.
There will indeed be a camel — along with the usual animal suspects (but no Jayhawk) — at the Franciscan Servants of the Holy Family Living Nativity from 1 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the Community Indoor Arena at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 1930 Harper St., Lawrence.
This is a free event open to the public, but donations will be gratefully accepted to defray the costs of holding the event.
Children will have an opportunity to pet some of the animals and engage in some arts and crafts activities. Music will be provided by the St. John the Evangelist Parish choir and a keyboardist. In addition to the traditional Nativity scene with live re-enactors, there will be a scene of the Annunciation.
There will be recitations of the story of how St. Francis of Assisi invented the first Nativity creche and the Nativity story taken from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Cookies, hot chocolate and coffee will be available.
This is the fifth year the Franciscan Servants have presented a Nativity creche in Lawrence, but it’s also the 800th anniversary of the first Nativity creche set up by St. Francis in a cave near Greccio, Italy, said Sister Doris Engeman, FSHS.
The reason why the Sisters, assisted by volunteers, are setting up the Living Nativity again since they began doing so in 2019 is the same reason why St. Francis made the first one.
“It’s a simple, very visual reminder of the reason we celebrate Christmas,” said Sister Doris. “It always amazes me how in the churches, after Mass, the little children run up to the Nativity scene. They stand there as their parents talk to them about the birth of Jesus.”