We all look forward to Christmas. The typical decorations remind us of its arrival, as well as the desire to have details with our loved ones: a Christmas card, a gift, a visit, etc. Upon reflection, we realize that the central character and the first target of our affection should be the Child God, as well as his Mother, the Virgin and St. Joseph. If we go deeper we realize that the best joy we can bring to others is the wonder of putting Christ at the center of their lives, with the assurance of his love for us and the assurance that he knows all things and can do all things.
The tradition of placing a Nativity Scene in our homes helps us to focus on this meaning and help those in our home to have that Christian sense of Christmas. As love is diffusive of itself we wish that other families also feel encouraged to place a Nativity Scene in their homes. belen in the center of their homes, as well as in different places, as the Holy Father Francis recently reminded us in his Apostolic Letter Admirabile Signum from December 1, 2019 on the meaning and value of the nativity scene: "I would like to encourage the beautiful tradition of our families who in the days before Christmas prepare the crib, as well as the custom of placing it in workplaces, schools, hospitals, prisons, squares...." (AS, n. 1). Precisely at the time this Letter was published, I was trying to overcome the difficulties that arose in setting up an initiative to promote the diffusion of this Christian tradition. Nativity Contest. As with any project, it was necessary to get others excited to help. God moved many people to collaborate with this initiative, starting with a friend named William, who for the past 30 years has personified King Melchior, because he is one of the famous Three Wise Men from the town of Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico, where the January 6th holiday is celebrated the most. William liked the idea and promised me that the "Three Wise Men"The winners of the contest would attend and present the prizes to the winners.
In addition, we agreed that the winning works would be exhibited in the thematic Museum of the Three Kings built in that municipality 20 years ago. I am told that it is the only one in the world dedicated to them. I was also supported by some painter friends, Felipe and Julio, both to create the call and rules of the contest and to act as jurors in it. The best shopping mall in my city, Plaza del Caribe, collaborated by lending us a place and the school where my two daughters studied was in charge of decorating it. Other friends helped me with the promotion. Teachers friends promoted in their schools the participation of their students. Several families also agreed to be part of the jury, along with school principals in the city. Finally, among other help, friends came to take turns during the exhibition. There are countless anecdotes that took place during the visit of people who went shopping at Plaza del Caribe, but in such a hurry they stopped to contemplate the nativity scenes on display, some of which were in models and others in painting.
For the 2nd edition of the Nativity Contest we found the pandemic that led us to do everything virtually through the Facebook page that we opened: "The Nativity Scene of the Year".PR Nativity Contest". The Holy Kings of Juana Díaz not only awarded virtually all the winners in an activity that was broadcast live from their Casa Museo, but also recorded video messages for the families of the winners.
The 3rd edition, despite the resurgence of the Covid by the Omicron variant, we were able to do it in person again, as well as virtually, and there was a good participation, both of artists who made their cribs and about 300 families who visited the exhibition over 4 days. These days were splendid occasions to talk to the people who visit the exhibition, to get them excited about this tradition and to listen to their feelings about what the different works inspired them.
From December 15 to 24, 2022 we will have the 4th edition of the Nativity Scene Contest, whose on-site venue for the exhibition of the same will continue to be Plaza del Caribe in Ponce (in store 201 on the 2nd level, next to JC Penney), but you can also participate virtually by sending a photo of your artwork -or if you want the same work by mail-. The email address to send the photos is [email protected]All entries must be submitted on or before December 10, 2022. Those who wish to participate this year can get all the details of the Nativity Contest through our Facebook page. "PR Nativity Contest". To the traditional prizes of previous years we have added this year a ticket from Puerto Rico to Portugal for WYD in August 2023. for the student of "High School"The jury will choose from among the winners.
We encourage all readers to live with your family this beautiful tradition of putting a nativity scene in your home, regardless of whether or not you can participate in the Nativity Scene Contest. On the other hand, participation in this 4th edition of the Nativity Scene Contest is not limited to making a work and registering, but you can participate by voting for the winners from December 15 to 17, 2022 by giving "like"You can add your favorites on Facebook "PR Nativity Contest", where all the works will be published.