I have seen four tiny Nativities in a week. One involved dancing to “La Bamba” and another this track. Seriously.
This is the New Christmas. We acknowledge the religious nature of the “holiday” but we’re also awfully cavalier and post-post-modern about it.
I’d also say, and this may be the result of being the mother of boys, or it may be a reflection on the vicissitudes of children’s early development, but all of these Nativities were undeniably matriarchal.
The schools’ sound systems’ default setting seem unusally loud. In one, the chorus was just a row of tiny kids opening and shutting their mouths and waving their arms about in very approximate unison. Cute though. In another, the angel asked Mary: “Do you want the good news or the bad news?” But we didn’t find out what either was because the sound system drowned out the answer. However, the two-foot-high angels’ gestures implied late-stage pregnancy and the vigorous rocking of a tiny baby so I could have a guess. Though whether it was good or bad I have no idea.
I do actually, I’ve been through labour more than once – that may have been the bad news.
Or the colic or the cracked nipples or the demise of the pelvic floor. All sorts of options.
“The good news is you’re going to have a baby whose very existence will inspire Great Works of Art and Magnificent Buildings and even Universities – and that’s after being born into a donkey-trough. The bad news is you’re going lose your virginity through giving birth – which kind of flies in the face of all sorts of givens… but it makes you a Force of Nature – and you will be dressed in a blue sheet and synonymous with Good Manners for eternity. All sorts of upsides – here, have a lily.
These days – school Nativities, even in church schools, come laden with complex ironies.
But at least the kids know that Christmas is about Jesus. I am relieved they have some sense of a cultural inheritance that is out of the hands of Disney. Even if do they think the Angel is called Tinkerbell.