Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Problem With Christmas #6

#6: Nativities

Number six on the "What's Wrong With Christmas" list suffers from the same maladies as the previous entry. For an easy guide to what's wrong with Nativities, head on over to Going Jesus and take a look at the Cavalcade of Bad Nativities. Hopefully, Sara, who runs Going Jesus, won't mind me stealing one of her pics as an example.

So take, for instance, the Inflat-O-Tivity!

As Sara comments, "Of course it lights up!" There are nativities with ducks, dogs, snowmen and everything in between. And, just like those darned Christmas plays, they make us look at the Incarnation and go "Awwwwe! Look at the cute cuddly-umpkin puppies!" if that is the horrible nativity you happen to have chosen this year. I feel sorry for those kids in the moment that they wake up one Christmas morning, years from now, look out on their lawn, and realize, in abject horror, what a mistake they have made.

Also, many, many nativities suffer from the same misreading of the Bible as Christmas carols. Ride around town and look at the nativities, and there are those damn wise men again. People just can't resist shoving those magi in with Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the veritable barnyard parade of animals, which is again, bad exegesis.

So why, you ask, is this number six on the countdown, instead of thrown in with seven? Because, unlike Christmas carols, this is a purely visual stimuli, which usually has a more powerful impact. Also, you may see one, maybe two Christmas plays this year, or none, if you're lucky.

But how many nativities will you see? Well, depending on what kind of town you live in, you might see one on every other lawn you drive past. So, then nativities seem to be a much more noticeable problem than carols or Christmas plays. That's why they are number six on the "What's Wrong With Christmas" countdown.

It's true that a visual reminder of Jesus birth can help us retain the preciousness of that moment, but, dear God, don't let it be with Precious Moments. Jesus birth is powerful, not cute, so if you want a nativity under the tree, or on the lawn, or roof, or wherever, find one that communicates that. And for all our sakes', leave the magi out of it.

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