Saturday, 4 December 2010

Nativity Scene

For the first time ever The Taizé Community has built a Nativity Scene. The whole thing is at the road end of the Church of Reconciliation. The stable fits neatly under the roof but when I saw it, I was rather disappointed to see the stable empty. Quite unusual for a Nativity Scene - no nativity…. I stood looking for a few minutes and then I spotted them, Joseph with staff in hand leading a donkey with a very pregnant Mary on top. Logical really, Jesus isn’t due for a few weeks yet. I have never found it odd that the baby Jesus was in the stable for the whole of advent, but obviously the builders of this Nativity Scene had found it odd and had put some thought into their rendition of a Nativity Scene.

To quote from Taizé’s website “It is a sign of the Season of Advent, into which Christians have just entered. The liturgy also underlines this time of waiting.. ” and this novel approach to what is usually seen as just a bit of extra festive “tinsel”, makes us think about the whole story and about the waiting. The quotation from Luke 2 on the wall reads “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to his own town to register.” Reading that and seeing Mary on her donkey did get me thinking.

The distance between Nazareth and Bethlehem is about 130 km as the crow flies, how long would that journey have taken them? Cees and I have been know to do quite a bit of walking and when in form we can clock up to a maximum of 25 km a day so if we were fit and in tip-top condition it would take us about 6 days on the flat. But we are talking about desert here and we are talking about an old man who is leading a donkey with his heavily pregnant wife on it. We should also not forget that to get to Bethlehem, they would have had to travel across Samaria which was hostile bandit country in those days. Some people even suggest that they would not have taken the shortest route but a longer safer route via modern day Jordan. So whilst the bible gives no figures (as far as I can see) it would have been a very long journey more than a couple of weeks, which might explain why they arrived so late in Bethlehem and missed out on all the available rooms.

In any case I will be following events as they unfurl between “Nazareth” and “Bethlehem” and let you know.

Our gites are not very near Bethlehem, but they are near Taizé and they have availability! La Tuilerie Website

1 comment:

  1. Hi, who told you that Josef was old? ;)
    He does not seem to be so old in the Taize scene ...;)


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