Paul’s Perambulations

December 20, 2010

My Crèche Tableau

Filed under: Family,Peace,Religion — admin @ 1:30 pm

Why do I value the crèche that I set up every Christmastime?  I do not take, nor am I particularly concerned with,  a strictly literal interpretation of the scene depicted (even the bible tells the story differently).  So what does it represent? 

In one sense, the scene portrays our universal hope for the future, represented by new birth. But more particularly, the recognition of Jesus’ very humble birth was revolutionary. Previously, the earth moved only according to the will of kings and the powerful. Now, it was recognized that God can speak through the humblest of individuals. Jesus was a divinely inspired expression of God’s will for the world, with a new message of hope, love and peace.

But kings are essentially gone from the earth nowadays, and supposedly all of us have more opportunities than existed in the times of serfs and slaves and before educational opportunities. So is this revolutionary scene basically of historical significance, or is this message as relevant today as two thousand years ago? To me, it is as relevant now as ever. We may be beyond the age of powerful kings, but their role has been supplanted by new rulers, often represented by networks of very wealthy individuals, international corporations, powerful political interests and their highly-paid lobbyists, etc. Today, can we imagine that the potential answer to these enslaving powers still exists among those who are being born at this very moment, in whatever circumstances, some of whom will be empowered TO SPEAK OUT  (and likely suffer for it), TO BE HEARD, and TO CHANGE THE WORLD in the direction of peace and respect for all?  In that sense, this tableau is as relevant today as ever.

On a strictly personal level, we all appreciate those holidays and events that remind us of good times in our childhood. This crèche has the same German figurines as the crèche that my parents purchased in Germany in the 1930’s and was used every Christmas in my childhood and is in use by my mother even now in her 100th year.

p.s. Historical writers couldn’t fully comprehend this revolutionary notion of the possibility for any human to be inspired with, and convey, God’s will for the world. And so they added various miraculous signs according to the custom of their times. Also, being born powerless does not inherently direct us towards either virtue or vice – we don’t want to be necessarily praising folks born in log cabins, and we should remember that Joseph was prepared to rent a room for the night at the hotel, but the couple arrived too late and in high season.

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