A nativity scene or crèche is a depiction of the birth of Jesus as described in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.
In the early twelfth century, crèche was used to describe the birthplace of Christ. The term was coined after Saint Francis of Assisi celebrated Midnight Mass in a stable where men and animals reenacted the Christmas story. The crèche, derived from the German word krippe or crib, refers to the animals’ manger in which Christ was born. It later became known as the place of the Nativity.
Nativity scenes exhibit figures representing the infant Jesus, his mother Mary, and Joseph. Other characters from the nativity story such as shepherds, the Magi, and angels may be displayed near the manger in a barn (or cave) intended to accommodate farm animals. A donkey and an ox are typically depicted in the scene, as well as camels belonging to the Magi.