‘A Place for Jesus’ Explores the Fascinating Origins and Spiritual Significance of the Christmas Crèche

Author Scott P. Mages demonstrates how folklore, art and the gospel have shaped the modern presentation of Jesus’ birth

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As the advent season approaches, people around the world remove their nativities from their cozy packaging, stores create elaborate displays of manger scenes and churches construct life-size renditions of the seasonal tableau. While the Christmas crèche in its varying forms and presentations encourages onlookers to remember the “reason for the season,” the story it relays is not just that of Christ’s birth but also hundreds of years of retellings, folk legends and artistic interpretations.

In his new book, “A Place for Jesus: A Walking Tour of the Christmas Crèche,” Scott P. Mages takes readers on a journey through the history of the iconography, beginning with an examination of the biblical story and historical and cultural contexts of Jesus’ birth. Mages analyzes both the setting and figures—Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the angels and the Magi—explaining how their modern presentation compares to their roles as told through the gospels of Matthew and Luke. He also demonstrates how the crèche has been influenced largely by folklore and art, including Renaissance and Neapolitan painters.

Alongside the history of the crèche, Mages offers his own reflections on the significance of “no room at the inn” and what it means to bear witness to the birth of Christ. While the role of the figures around the manger may differ from the Bible’s narrative, they each present a profound lesson on faith, an opportunity for deeper spiritual contemplation and a reminder of God’s gift of everlasting grace.

“The Christmas story is the gospel in miniature, a vital and enduring message of hope,” said Mages. “Through using the familiar manger scene to revisit the biblical foundations of the Christmas story and sample the development of each figure in church history, folklore and art, I hope to refocus attention on the enduring meaning of the incarnation and inspire an appreciation for what the crèche represents.”

An intriguing and thought-provoking guide to the Christmas crèche, “A Place for Jesus” offers a unique perspective on an often-overlooked yuletide tradition and a space for readers to prepare spiritually for the coming holiday.  

“A Place for Jesus: A Walking Tour of the Christmas Crèche”
By Scott P. Mages
ISBN: 9781973694212 (softcover); 9781973694205 (hardcover); 9781973694229 (electronic)
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and WestBow Press

About the author
After earning his Master of Divinity degree summa cum laude from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Scott P. Mages served at several parishes in the Pittsburgh area, conducted campus ministry and led a support group for families who had experienced tragic death. He also worked on the national outline task force for Engaged Encounter, an intense weekend retreat that helps Christian engaged couples get to know each other more deeply while growing in their faith and love. During this time, he authored “Daydreams,” a collection of short stories for young adults (Commonwealth Publications, 1995). Mages’ interest in the Christmas crèche originated as ministry idea, where he conceived an advent service that consisted of participants individually bringing up a statue at a time to build the manger scene, accompanied by a reflection and song. Through decades of research and reflection, that tiny seed blossomed into “A Place for Jesus.” To learn more about Mages, please visit scottmages.com.

WestBow Press is a strategic supported self-publishing alliance between HarperCollins Christian Publishing and Author Solutions, LLC — the world leader in supported self-publishing. Titles published through WestBow Press are evaluated for sales potential and considered for publication through Thomas Nelson and Zondervan.  For more information, visit www.westbowpress.com or call (866)-928-1240.