If you haven’t figured it out by now my bucket list, for living in Poland and when we are traveling, is to visit as many churches as I can.  Sometimes, what you think you are going to see, is not really what you end up seeing at all.  And our trip to Vienna was no exception.

On our last day there we had a few hours to kill before it was time to take the train back to the airport for our flight back to Poland.  So armed with a map of the city, we went looking for churches.  And Vienna doesn’t disappoint.

The first church we visited was St.Stephens, the most important church in Vienna that I shared with you in my last post.  We took the underground to get there and when  you come up out of  the station to street level, it literally looms in front of you!IMG_7368

If you turn 180 degrees, you’ll see our second stop was just down the street, St. Peter’s Church.IMG_7405  This is the view from the side street.  It has this amazing sculpture/relief picture on the side wall of the church.  You can see it in the distance, but it looks so much better close up.  IMG_7409To the right of this we saw an a open door on the side of the building, with a sign (in German).  We saw other people go in, so thinking it was an entrance, we went in too. But it led a small entry way with stairs that were going down to the basement…so we decided to investigate.  We had stumbled upon the crypt.  No dead bodies here….But what was there was even more amazing.  It was the annual display of the Christmas CRIBS!  Or as we usually say…manger.  Although the hymn does mention crib.  Sing along with me:  Away in a Manger, No crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head….

For a small fee ( I think it was 6 euros for the two of us) you could go in and view them.  There were big ones, (this is the first one I’ve seen with an elephant!)IMG_7433 and small onesIMG_7426hand-carved onesIMG_7421and ones made of marble.IMG_7412The most unusual was made of newspaper and book pages.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen baby Jesus swaddled in newspaper (I assume He is in there somewhere).IMG_7438Each contributor gave their own unique perspective of what the manger scene looked like this one with a “down home country feel”IMG_7440 or perhaps more of a European village concept.IMG_7420Sometimes the manger looked like a cave or part of a hollowed out tree.IMG_7428 IMG_7434 All were beautiful in their own way.  All were celebrating the birth of Christ.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas filled with love, hope, joy and most important, faith.