Advent is exciting for most children: a calendar on the wall, with a chocolate for each day nearer Christmas and anticipation of Santa Claus and presents. But for children in some Whaley Bridge families, there is extra excitement – a visit to their home from Mary and Joseph!
The little figures of Jesus’s parents will be part of the crib in Holy Trinity Church at the Christingle service for children on Christmas Eve. But until then, the figures travel around into a different home in the parish each night.
‘The Travelling Crib’ idea has been going in Whaley Bridge for nearly 20 years. After a family has had the figures of Mary and Joseph overnight, they pass them on to the next house. The families share a snack and a short prayer.
This year the Travelling Crib moves out of the parish for three nights, to Tunstead Milton. Higher Disley and Sheldon, near Matlock. The figures arrive back at church on Christmas Eve to join baby Jesus in the crib, with the animals around.
Beryl Axcell, a reader at the church and an organiser of a club for pre-school children and their carers, said: “It’s a lovely idea, and it means even very small children learn that Christmas is more than just Advent calendar sweeties and Christmas presents.”