Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Allegory


My first Christmas at the parish where I currently hang my biretta, we had a great adventure searching for Jesus. I blogged it here.

Although the choreography was slightly altered this year (with Mary and Joseph at the front of the choir stalls on the north side and the shepherds on the south), and although one of the magi met with a mishap (Mind the Camels sign notwithstanding), I represent the story in its original. The picture at the top is the creche inside the altar.

Searching for the Christ Child
The title isn't quite so allegorical as you think. We actually spent about ten minutes before the Christmas Eve service desperately seeking the Baby Jesus for the main creche at the parish where I serve as interim priest.

It is actually a very interesting creche, set up inside the altar itself. A simple wooden chevron suggests the stable, while the remaining figures stand on black satin.

It was already in place on Sunday last. Actually in the Sunday before last as we compromised the calendar in the interest of the children's pageant. But Sunday last the creche had only its minimalist roof, one ox and one ass. Mary and Joseph were not far away - standing on the altar pavement - but they hadn't arrived yet. The shepherds weren't there yet either, out tending their sheep on the edge of the pulpit. And the magi were in the middle of the aisle at the back of the church, still some ways away.

Tonight, Mary and Joseph, and after some panicked moments, the Baby Jesus, were all installed in their places. The shepherds were "summoned to his stable" during the gradual hymn. And the magi were now half way up the aisle - accompanied by a helpful
Mind the Camels sign prepared by my good wife.

It was a good celebration in a community which seems increasingly hopeful and future oriented. And generally united. There is no parish on earth that doesn't have some divisions and tensions. But this little parish seem quite determined to be a
family together.

. . . snip . . .

We found Jesus tonight at St. James - literally, allegorically and eucharistically. We all came to the same table, together. That is where we belong in worship - at the same table, together.
Merry Christmas!

4 comments:

Megan said...

Merry Christmas, Malcolm!

Jim said...

Merry Christmas!

FWIW
jimB

Muthah+ said...

Malcom, I have had similar incidents--searching for Jesus at the last moment and mending a camel or so. Where I was subbing night before last there was an armadillo and 3 pigs in the creche as well as a dog in the manger. Texans seem to do their own thing!

May your Christmas season be joyful

Chelliah Laity said...

Merry Xmas