THE FIRST CRIB OF 1959 AT Cambridge ten days ago I saw " the first public crib of 1959. A Canadian who was with .me was deeply impressed. I could assure him that the Cambridge crib was only the first of many thousands which would appear in public squares, in shop windows, and in church porches. The crib is once more the centre of Christmas, thousands learn the lesson of the Incarnation for the first time. It seems that this year we are to have a crib in Trafalgar Square. It has not, appeared at the time of writing, and some hitch may occur even now. If it does appear, we must all take steps to thank the Ministry of Works for the permission which has been withheld for many years.
AT this time of the year requests ' for crib figures pour in from those foolish virgins who never think of the problem till Christmas
is at the door. Happily, others start in good time. In Newcastle two years ago I met a schoolteacher who has made the moulds and can turn out delightful plaster figures at very little cost. Her cribs went free of charge to hospitals and homes. In Liverpool this year I saw wonderful three-ply figures hand-painted by the Carmelite nuns. This type of figure can be made to any size. One reader writes that he has the loan of tailor's dummies and that his wife and some friends are dressing them for the crib. Indeed the best crib that I saw last year was made with puppet-like figures, produced from wire and bits of cloth overnight.
" BEDS risked the first live crib four years ago. Today the idea has caught on in many different places and has led to a new spirit of co-operation between Christians of different creeds. World Refugee Year has served as an admirable excuse for the pageant. for Christ was a displaced person for the first three yews of Hs life. Readers could certainly help very much by encouraging those who are staging such cribs. At Romford, the other day, I heard of the live crib in the market place on the nights before Christmas with the Magi mounted. Slough, I'm told, will have a genuine innkeeper to meet Our Lady and wipe out any slur on an honourable trade. The biggest live crib of all is planned for London's Piccadilly at 5.30 p.m. on the three nights before Christmas. Our Lady will ride across Piccadilly Circus, and you should be there to see her. In this central pageant Catholics have been supported by many other denominations, and especially by the parish of St. James's. Piccadilly. The crib is a joint effort to honour World Refugee Year.
'PIE Christmas posters will again appear on the hoardings of England, thanks to the never-ending generosity of the Bill Posters' Association. It would be sad if this goodwill was taken for granted without a word of thanks. This
year, too, some 20 large posters have been sent by groups in England to Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, and other towns in the United States. Each poster will carry a yellow banner, "Christmas Greetings from England." The time is now not so far away when towns and countries will send huge Christmas cards to each other in what may become a truly Christian peace campaign. Any news of such Christmas activities should be sent to "All Sorts". Space may not permit national coverage, but the example of one town or region may stimulate similar reactions in other towns next year.
I N the recent "All Saints" quiz one competitor answered the question: "Name the two most recent Doctors of the Church" with the words: "Sheed and Ward." Antither competitor correctly answered the same question: "St. Antony of Padua and St. Lawrence of Brindisi", but then added for the last mentioned saint: "Declared Doctor 1959, author of Opera Omnia."