December 28, 2007

Nativity Scenes

It was a quiet day after this morning's funerals, so I decided to take a good long walk around the neighborhood before the work week begins again in the morning.

I saw a lot of little Bethlehems set up on lawns, in front of churches, and even one up in a tree house. I love the concept of making the Christmas mystery concrete; the Word of life that we have seen and heard and touched with our hands as the first letter of John says. When I see them I try to pray in thanksgiving to God for the devotion of those who took the time to set them up and witness to their faith.

I also like how all these different nativity scenes range from the tasteful and beautiful to the tacky and corny. When I see the good ones I try to thank God that despite all of the violence and darkness of this world, people still insist on making beauty. When I see the ugly ones I try to remember how the Lord was born away from anything considered important or beautiful in his time, and I also pray for the people in China or wherever who made the animals and people, perhaps without even knowing what they were supposed to mean.

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