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The stumbling blocks that some of our Most Innovative Companies have faced on their journeys to success and what they learned along the way. Industrial designer Sebastian Bergne might have developed the Modernist’s happy medium.
This contemporary and irreverent display (note: lack of Jesus) could perhaps draw the ire of a few Catholic purists. On Christmas Eve 1223, the saint created the first nativity in the Italian city of Greccio.
The Franciscans quickly spread the practice of creating nativity scenes with live animals and actors. As the tradition was introduced to new regions throughout the world, nativity scenes adapted to local tastes and customs.
A few years ago, however, there were complaints that this localism had gone too far when a figurine of former Italian prime minister, the scandal-plagued Silvio Berlusconi, appeared in a nativity scene in Naples. By the 19th century Protestant churches, which initially rejected nativity scenes as a form of idolatrous Catholic superstition, slackened their opposition to the scenes, and their popularity spread through the wider Christian world.
Francis’ original nativity was inspired by his trip in 1221 to the Holy Land and Jesus’ traditional birthplace. Accounts of Francis’ original nativity do not include much information about the congregation that gathered. The popularity of nativity scenes, however, indicates that over the centuries people were drawn to the possibility of building their own Bethlehem.
During the English Reformation, Nativity scenes were outlawed because the figurines looked too much like religious statues to the Puritans. Traditional nativities are devotional in nature; that is they are intended to make you think seriously about the nature of Jesus' birth, as recorded in the New Testament accounts. The following nativity sets and collections were chosen because we recognized the value they can add to your family Christmas celebrations. Note: Most of the sets on this page are actually collections that you can "subscribe" to like you subscribe to a magazine. Note for September, 2013: Sadly, five of the sets we most recently put on this page are no longer available - they came and went too quickly.
If you are NOT in North America, try contacting the Bradford Exchange office in your country or region. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the light of hope infused the air and the world rejoiced in the promise of God's love fulfilled. Thomas Kinkade Star Of Hope Nativity Collection With Super Starter Set - This is the same collection as above, but the first two issues will ship immediately for a total price of $119.99 plus shipping and service.
Picture the night Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the way the air must have been infused with the light of hope and the promise of God's love fulfilled!

But hurry - strong demand is expected for this unique Thomas Kinkade outdoor Nativity collection and editions are limited. What better way to celebrate the miracle of the First Christmas than with a Nativity display? Each fully sculpted figurine is individually handcrafted and hand-painted by highly skilled artisans in meticulous detail. For the first time ever, the dramatic look of traditional Polish Stoneware pottery inspires a most treasured Christmas tradition with this stunning folk art Nativity figurine collection, available exclusively from The Bradford Exchange, Hawthorne Village Division.
These rich patterns are among the most collected in the world, and intense demand is expected for this masterful Nativity collection, so don't delay. Show friends and family the awe and reverence you feel for the story of the Nativity, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem - and the light of hope illuminated the air as the world rejoiced in the promise of God's love fulfilled.
Recreate the reverent charm and serenity of the setting of Christ's miraculous birth with this first-of-a-kind Bethlehem nativity village collection - the perfect complement for your nativity figurine set.
In the meantime, whether you're reading this a week or eleven months before Christmas, please have a great family Christmas this year, and let us know what we can do to help.
Visit any of the links below to see quality collectible Christmas gifts and decorations that have been popular with our readers.
But this thing is so abstract, you might as well throw it on the mantel and call it Halloween decor. Many of us grew up in households that were decked out in religious artifacts, even if only for the holidays. The Color Nativity is a set of seven hand-painted wood blocks that fit nicely in an accompanying wooden box.
With the help of a local nobleman, Francis celebrated the birth of Jesus in a cave outside the town. Living scenes remained popular, but static nativities also developed, allowing the scene to remain on display for longer periods for meditation.
Incorporating local elements was especially popular in Francis’ native Italy, where the participants in the scene looked less like biblical figures and more like characters from the local village.
Last Christmas, a church in Southampton, England gathered shepherds, angels, and wise men of all sizes in an attempt to break the record for the largest living nativity.
We do not know if the Italian villagers standing in the cold on Christmas Eve nearly eight centuries ago were as moved as Francis was by the idea of an omnipotent God so capable of love and humility that he took the form of a vulnerable infant and was born outdoors among the animals. Setting up a nativity scene not only allows us to remember and celebrate the drama of Jesus’ birth but also the saint so enraptured with that drama that he brought it to life. Again, some of the collectibles listed below come and go pretty quickly, so we have chosen to use the manufacturer's descriptions in order to get these listed in a timely manner. Bradford Exchange does not carry the same products in every country, but they may be able to help you with questions. Now, the peace and glory of this blessed story is interpreted in a beautiful new way with the incredible Thomas Kinkade Nativity collection, a special Market First available exclusively from Hawthorne Village.

Now, celebrate the peace and glory of the Nativity in a first-ever Thomas Kinkade outdoor Nativity collection, exclusively from The Bradford Exchange, Hawthorne Village Division. Now that age-old story experiences a glorious new birth in a breathtaking African-American Nativity scene set collection, a first-ever from Hawthorne Village.
Now, the timeless beauty of traditional Polish stoneware inspires this first-ever Silent Night Nativity Set, available exclusively from The Bradford Exchange, Hawthorne Village Division. If you start with this one early enough, you can have the Holy Family by Christmas, but you keep getting pieces as long as you want to collect them.
Now, the peace and glory of the Nativity can be yours in a remarkable Christmas Nativity scene featuring porcelain figurines accented in platinum silver, beginning with Issue One, Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
And though many of us might eschew our religious beliefs, some of us still long for holiday family traditions.
The liturgy featured a hay-filled manger in front of the temporary altar, and as Francis preached, the nobleman arranged to have an ox and a donkey stand at the altar as well. Hoping others could enjoy the same profoundly spiritual experience, Francis encouraged believers to make pilgrimages to Bethlehem. The story begins with Issue One, Loving Mary, Baby Jesus and Adoring Joseph, the cornerstone of the Black Nativity. The heirloom-quality collectible Nativity figurines in this set include Mary and Baby Jesus, Joseph, and the Three Kings, creating a graceful and elegant tribute to that glorious night.Graced with the lavish peacock feather-inspired patterns and vibrant colors that make Polish stoneware pottery so highly valued, this exquisite set of Nativity figurines comes together to create a unique celebration of faith.
By 1223, however, conflict among the powers vying for control of the Holy Land made the trip too dangerous for pilgrims. From Mary and Joseph to the Baby Jesus, the Three Kings and even two precious lambs, each fully sculptural, self-standing figurine is impressively sized, perfect for displaying outside, beneath the tree or in the foyer.
Your collection includes porcelain figurines in embellished with platinum silver-accented illustrations of the story of the Nativity and an illuminated wooden creche.
The box transforms into a manger, and the set’s wooden divider becomes a minimalistic Star of Bethlehem.
Lavish white and alabaster gowns on each holy family member accentuate their rich ebony skin tones. Each figurine is superbly handcrafted of artist's resin and hand-painted by master artisans whose skill shines in every detail, from Mary and Joseph's serene expressions and the Baby Jesus' sweet sleeping face, to the glorious patterns that grace their flowing robes. Hummel to allow their art to be represented in any other form, and when they do, it is always in small numbers and sells out quickly. This illuminating collection will herald the true meaning of Christmas forever, but don't delay. That said, these almost never come back - instead our readers tend to be so delighted that when the first collection they order is complete, they start a new collection.

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