The town of Zamora in Spain is famous for, among other things, its ten beautifully preserved Romanesque churches from the 12th Century. One I visited at the end of the Camino was San Cipriano.
The church had been totally emptied except for a beautiful statue of Cipriano in the apse, and the nave contained the largest crèche I have ever seen. It was comprised of over a hundred little porcelain, pottery figurines all handcrafted and dressed in elaborate period dress. A masterpiece of attention to detail.
Upon entering, you first encounter the Magi, still a long way off, and then the shepherds in shock at the angel, and as you circumvent the large exposition, all of the villagers are at work with their daily chores and engaged with the local crafts.
Yet, from the expressions on their faces, all are aware of the center, the manger and the child. I spent over an hour walking round and round the display gazing at the figures, their faces and costumes, their knowing and not knowing. Something had happened in their town and in their hearts.
There was a Liturgy there in that ancient church – people, children, families, like me – walking around and around telling each other the story, recognizing characters, marveling, smiling and yet there was also a silence and a joy.