When Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem to sign up for taxes, the town had a lot more action than just a stable. All of the trades that were alive and active in the community like Bethlehem would easily have been seen and heard and provided life to the community.
This was just not just a country of shepherds. There were stonemasons and carpenters, fishers, roofers and makers of cooking utensils. Perhaps, metalsmith and certainly blacksmiths.
The Basilica of Santiago de Compostela tried to display the Nativity in the total context of Bethlehem. Even better, the beautifully crafted figures move and give a sense of the world going on in the Holy Land in the year 0. Fishers fish. Woodcutters cut wood. There's real action going on and when you walk around the entire miniature world, you get a sense of how it must have felt to live there at the time.
Of course, there are the shepherds watching their sheeps and there's the wise man checking the skies, the assorted animals that live in the manger swing their heads and complain about losing sleep. So, in this great grey, somewhat foreboding Basilica is a small world of humanity living out their lives in what historically is one of the most important moments in history.
See the Full Nativity Display of Santiago de Compostela
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