Christmas is, without doubt far more exciting than Easter. I know the liturgical police and the theological prudes will chase me through the corridors of fidelity for uttering such a heresy. But, let’s face it, cribs, carols, trees, candy cane and the spirit, if not the presence of St Nick all work together to provide a lot more excitement than an empty tomb. And we get 12 days to celebrate as well. I always use this as an excuse for sending Christmas Cards right up until January 6th. Wish someone would tell Australia Post about the 12 Days deal so we could continue using the Christmas stamps after December 31st.
Each year I join the universal competition to provide the mother of all cribs. In my young adult years I lived with a community of Capuchin Franciscan Friars where I was introduced to some of the popular European customs in which the Nativity setting became the impetus for creating an electronic metropolis complete with flying objects and a night sky that would have blown Galileo away.
This year at Casa Carina I have set up my Nativity scene after consulting the Vatican Feng Shui web site. The main icon is a hand woven from the Philippines which I picked up from the Good Shepherd Trading Circles many years ago. The shepherds have a bit of trouble getting to the main area due to the presence of assorted characters and other cultural personalities which include a small carved figure of St Francis from Japan and a couple of miniature dolls presented to me by the first Korean students at ACU McAuley.
The multicultural features include the recent addition of a couple of papal Cajaners. With Catalonia providing some of the more passionate political news my Benny XVI and Francis cajaners bring a contemporary feel to an ancient creche.
Out of view (as you would expect) are the Magi.. They are currently on the other side of the room and will slowly progress to the crib to arrive on schedule for the Epiphany on January 6th. One year I was away and had an external Nativity. A neighbor took on the task of moving the “Three Kings” through the garden to arrive on time. I really think she ducked out late on the night of Jan 5th and gave them an express run through the shrubbery.
I feel sorry for the poor old “Three Kings”. They don’t really get to make much of an appearance as everything gets taken down and put away as soon as they arrive in accordance with a tradition handed down by my wise old grandmother.
So, I hope you are blest with friendship, compassion and solidarity with vulnerable people on the 12 days of Christmas which take us into the New Year with its promise of joy and peace.