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On the Banks of Yesteryear — The Real Meaning of Christmas PDF Print E-mail
Friday, December 20, 2013 9:00 PM

The Canal Museum is again a fantasy world of lights, tinsel and trees as our 15th annual Christmas Tree Festival is underway. Although the main feature is always the decorated trees, there are also other items that help promote the Christmas spirit such as sleighs, Santas, angels and nativity sets. This year we are highlighting our collection of nativity scenes in several of our window displays.


It’s nearly impossible to go through December without seeing at least one nativity scene, whether it’s a set of ceramic figurines in a private home, a life-size tableau in front of a church or a cast of actors in a Christmas pageant.


The first nativity, created by St. Francis of Assisi in 1224, consisted of real people and animals. St. Francis was concerned that the true meaning of Christmas was being lost on people because even then, the ritual of gift-giving was becoming the focus rather than the birth of Christ. Religious leaders still echo St. Francis’s concern and yet even today, the popularity of the nativity remains at a high level all over the world.

One of our most treasured sets is the one that was in Shenk’s window for many years. Fortunately for us, when Shenk’s closed several years ago, an anonymous donor purchased the set for the museum.

Many people have already seen the 100-plus trees and the beautifully decorated windows but there is still time if you haven’t. The festival will continue through Sunday. Hours are 1-4 p.m. today and Sunday.

Last Updated on Friday, December 20, 2013 9:10 PM

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