January 4, 2013 by T. Gregory Argall
We spent last weekend visiting our grandchildren and enjoying our third Christmas of the year. Among other things, the kids each received a pop-out foam build-it-yourself artsy-craftsy project thing.
Heather got a sleigh with Santa and a reindeer.
Stewart got a non-gingerbread gingerbread house.
And Kayla got a nativity scene.
Because she is three years old, Kayla asked for Grandpa’s help in building the foam manger and its tenants. I gladly complied because she’s adorable and that’s what Grandpas do.
On the package there was a photo of how the completed nativity scene “should” look. (Note the newborn Baby Jesus, standing up, arms raised for a heavenly high-five.)
We made a few changes, mainly to add a sense of realism to the scene. As shown by the presence of the sheep, this is not a maternity ward; this is a place where livestock is kept. Also, in general, it was a dangerous time. Two travellers on the road were easy targets for thieves, killers, mimes, or other ne’er-do-wells. Self-defence was as important to survival as food and booking ahead for a reservation. So it seemed only logical that Joseph would be a skilled martial artist, spinning his bo staff like the ass-kicker that he was. Also, we figured Mary would be bulked up and ready to crack a few skulls if needed.
Come on, she just gave birth in a barn and convinced everyone she was still a virgin. This was a tough woman that no one argued with.
As for Baby Jesus himself, well, I’m sure he was just happy to be alive, since there was that kill-all-the-babies edict from King Herod.
And so Kayla and I made a nativity scene that reflected our vision of the event and the circumstances surrounding it.