Sunday 7th December 2014
Two ways of looking at the same thing.
Wayne Clarke on BBC Radio Leeds was talking about a story in the papers that Schools are less likely to do traditional Christmas plays. They were reporting this as if it was a bad thing. Clarke, a Baptist minister, disagreed. He said that the christmas crib scene we all know and love (well some love) has got nothing to do with what happened at the time jesus was born. Francis of Assisi invented the crib with animals and the stable were taken from what was contemporary to him. In order to communicate with people in 13th Century Italy he took a stable of their style and animals that would have been seen in the Italian countryside.
When you open your Christmas cards and see a stable, it isn’t the style of first century Judea, but 13th century Italy. Francis was trying to covey the story of Christmas to his contemporaries. Our problem is we stopped there.
Dick Swindell, preaching in Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield would take us back to how things were. He said that on a visit to the Holy land one of his fellow pilgrims was amazed to discover Jesus was born in a cave. The traditional site for the birth is a cave. But good as going back is, this is of limited value I think compared to our task of communicating the Christian message to our family, friends and colleagues.
Looking back is good, so long as it helps us to look forwards.
Could a modern crib look like this?