The Blessing of the Crib in Glasgow’s George Square – the great Wheel, the skaters, the cheerful throng – and the Glasgow Crib!!

Civic and Religious leaders of Glasgow are joined by lots of people, families, children and shoppers for this special event at the start of December every year. This year, its on Wednesday next, December 5th, at 5.30 pm in George Square for a little Christmas Service, – initiated when Cllr Liz Cameron became Lord Provost – during which the splendid Glasgow Crib is blessed and some prayers are said for the well-being of the city and the people of Glasgow.


‘Loving God, Your Son Jesus came among us
as a sign of your love for us.
This crib is a symbol of his birth
and of his sharing our humanity.
May we, and all who look upon this crib,
find here a sense of encouragement and hope.

Let this crib be a reminder to everyone that in our humanity all people are related,
that together we are one great human family – and that ‘God-is with-us’’.


The Church Leaders:

Let us bless this crib and all who pause here
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

This is a truly ecumenical event, supported by the joint choir of the Gorbals primary schools (St Francis’ and Greyfriars), with the St Mungo Singers, a small Ensemble from the Royal Scottish Conservatoire, a Harpist, and lots of interested citizens.

All are welcome, and despite the variable December weather, there is usually a large and joy-filled crowd. The usual carols such as ‘O Come, all ye faithful,’ ‘Silent Night,’ ‘Away in a manger’ etc will be supplemented with the singing of the central part of St Luke’s Gospel of Christmas and with the children singing ‘Love shine a light in every corner of my heart.’

In a city square dominated by the great wheel, this imaginative little service provides an opportunity for “something uniquely both Christmas and Glasgow.” And yes, it is a very positive ‘sign of the times!’





Photos (c) Grace Buckley


Historic notes about the Crib

The crib celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.

Probably every parish church, and millions of homes, have their own ‘crib.’ However, the crib scene as we know it today owes its origins to St Francis ofAssisi, in Italy. In 1223 he set up the first such representation: with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus; the shepherds, angels and kings; and, of course, the ox and ass. This proved to be very attractive and is now familiar and popular world wide. The imagery is suggested in the ‘Infancy Narratives’ in the Gospel of Luke (Chapters 1-2) and Gospel of Matthew (Chapters 1-2).

There were earlier devotions to the crib in Christian tradition. In the second and third centuries, St Justin and Origen of Alexandria both refer to the ‘cavern’ or ‘grotto’ where Jesus was born. And, in the fourth century, ‘relics’ of the crib were brought to St Mary Major’s church inRome. Forms of Christmas ‘dramas’ were celebrated well before the time of St Francis.