Spread the Christmas Story with a Pic and a Hashtag

Spread the Christmas Story with a Pic and a Hashtag

crechetake program
Rick Quast and his mechanic, “Skinny” hanging out with other wise men at a service center in East Sandwich MA
After spending so much time in their houses over the past couple years, Reed Baer, pastor of West Parish of Barnstable wanted to get folks to bring Christmas out of the home  ̶  where it  can be privatized  ̶  and into the world... with a little help from social media.

“I wanted a fun way to spread Christmas cheer and share with others how the Christmas story impacts our lives,” said Baer.  “And I wanted to see how far and wide our love for the story goes.”

This month, Baer introduced a new program to his church, called My Creche Take, and asked folks to bring a figure from their favorite crèche  ̶  a representation of the Nativity, sometimes referred to as the manger scene  ̶  to a place that is meaningful to them. They were then asked to snap a photo, and email it to the pastor or post it to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #MyCrecheTake.

“In previous years I asked folks to send photos of their crèche, which I in turn used in the daily devotionals that are emailed to the congregation and posted on Facebook throughout Advent and all the way up to Epiphany,” explained Baer.  “The idea was to get people thinking about the reason for the season each day, not just on the occasional Sunday service they might squeeze in amid all the holiday preparations and events.” Baer usually adds an appropriate Bible verse or line from a Christmas carol before posting the pictures to the church social media pages.

It's been only a week and Baer has received many photos from folks at various locations.  There are pictures of magi on a Cape Cod beach, the Holy Family in a bottle washed ashore, an angel watching over students and their teachers at a pre-school, shepherds at a farm supply store, sheep placed on a wooden fence at a local farm, the Holy Family posed on the drum kit of a 6 year-old, and even wise men asking for directions at a gas station. He even added a picture of a wiseman with camel posed next to a coffee cup at his favorite breakfast restaurant. (See photos on the church’s Facebook page.)

Baer is receiving several comments about the activity, but he is particularly pleased that he is seeing photos from folks who have not been back in worship since Covid began. “It is great to see that they are still engaged, even if not back with us in worship yet,” he said.

One person wrote that they have been enjoying the posts, and added their own picture with comment, “This angel and the Babe Silent Night music box was placed as part of my mother’s Hummel crèche,” they wrote. “I took it to my basketball game.  Angels remind me to look up and the Babe reminds me of gentleness.  Good insights for shooting a basketball and for living a life of faith!”

Baer invites all  ̶  churches, local communities, anyone and everyone  ̶  to join in.  The hashtag #MyCrecheTake is not tied to West Parish, so he hopes this will be of interest not only to church members, but to the wider community as well.  

In the days of Jesus’ birth, the wise men followed the star.  These days, we ask folks to follow the hashtag.


Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane

Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane writes news articles for the SNEUCC website. She is also the editor of the Starting With Scripture newsletter. Contact her if: Your church has a great story to tell about an innovative ministry. You have a prayer request to ...

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