Sunday, December 18, 2016

Nativity: Outside

Shepherds, Sheep. Stars. Angels. Sky. People. Census. Crowds. Soldiers. There is a lot going on outside the stable. Lots of commotion. Lots of people. Lots of movement and activity. People going about their daily lives, living in many circumstances, dealing with situations of their own making and situations that have been thrust upon them by outside forces. Luke's gospel alludes to it in the gospel reading for Christmas (Luke 2:1-20).

We are usually focused on what is happening inside the manger, and Maurice Denis' painting of the nativity gives us the glow from within and the peek at the Holy Family after the birth of Jesus. But that part of the story doesn't occupy the majority of the picture space. So what happens in that picture space? How do we think about what is happening outside of the stable? Or do we even think about what is happening outside of the stable?

Both of the images below are available on the internet. Both are the same work of art, but look at the difference. What is happening outside the stable based on these images? It is mysterious and scary? Is it busy and loud? Are we even able to make sense of what is happening outside the stable? How do you talk about what is happening inside in relation to what is happening outside?
Maurice Denis. Nativity. Toulouse: Musee des Augustins.
Jesus was born into a context - into a particular moment in history, into a particular culture, into a particular situation. Things were happening outside the stable.

Jesus comes to us in our context - into our particular moment in history, into our particular culture, into our particular situation. Things are happening outside the stable.

How do we talk about what is happening outside in relation to what is happening inside?

On Facebook this week, the images for a video using the Christmas song "Some Children See Him." I was only able to post images (without the soundtrack) on FB. You can find the music file and run them together to see what I was going for. I do have the video with music as an mp4 file. Quality on the upload of the video to the blog was awful, and though I've tried everything I can think of, I've not been able to find another way to post it. So maybe it's not meant to be posted. The file is  11MB, but I think I can share that via email if you are interested.

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