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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Missing


Something is definitely missing. Oh the lights are up outside the house, the Christmas tree is decorated, the nativity scene is on display and the collection of Santas is out. The beautiful Christmas angel is on her perch atop the tree, and the little wooden snowmen bring their "Wish for Peace on Earth This Night.” But with only a couple of days left before the 25th, something is definitely missing. Something is missing in the house, and I confess, also missing in me.

I sit in the pre-dawn darkness and ponder this stubborn absence. This is not a void like that described in Marion’s post, night, nor is it the result of Christmas tragedy or the overpowering loneliness experienced by so many people this time of year. What is it then? Why, in the midst of all these symbols of Christmas does there still remain this cold hollowness?

It is in the midst of this pondering that I realize I have not yet found my favourite Christmas keeper; Angela and the Baby Jesus. It is in a box stored in "the cold room” along with the other Children’s Christmas books I did not put out this year. I repent and go and find it. Mine is “the little edition meant for big people,” not “the big book meant for little people,” as the author would describe it.

This little book, written by Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Angela’s Ashes, is the author's retelling of a true story told by his mother. McCourt begins;
When my mother, Angela, was six years old, she felt sorry for the Baby Jesus in the Christmas crib at St. Joseph’s Church near School House Lane where she lived. She thought the Baby Jesus was cold and wondered why no one had put a blanket over his plump little body.

Being all too familiar with being cold and hungry herself, Angela decides to rescue the Baby Jesus, and takes him home where he can be safe and warm. The difficulty arises when her troublesome brother, Pat, discovers her theft, and Father Creigh finds the Baby Jesus missing.

I read the book, and somehow my personal void begins to recede. Would that it were always so easy! Would that reading this little volume could do the same for everyone who finds that something is missing in their heart or home this time of year!

The symbolism is not lost on me. At the risk of being altogether too simplistic, perhaps this little story contains a key. Is it possible that we each need to take the Baby Jesus, wherever and however we find him, into our homes and hearts, to warm him and so ourselves be warmed?

It is the invitation of Christmas, so charmingly captured by the closing lines of the story.

“You can put him back in his little cradle now,” he said in a low gentle way.

“But he’ll be cold,” said Little Angela.

“Ah, no,” said Father Creagh. “When we’re not here his mother, Our Lady, makes sure he’s nice and warm.”

“Are you sure?”

“I am.”

When she put the Baby Jesus back in the crib, he smiled the way he always did and held out his arms to the world.


Posted by Carman

2 comments:

  1. I found that book last year at Indigo and thought it was fabulous. Jesus often does look cold, wrapped in his swaddling, but the other night I found a nativity piece that I think more accurately depicts how Jesus would have looked that night tucked up in Mary's arms, nursing...

    http://www.presepipampa.it/uk/det/PASTORS/1/Dressed+Ceramic+Nativity/1/NATIVITY+4+PIECES%09/8

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  2. Absolutely agree, Property. That would, of course, be the natural position, and would certainly have kept him warm. Of course, being swaddled, he would not have held out his arms to the world as he does in Angela and the Baby Jesus, but that would ruin the story!

    Thanks for your contribution to the conversation.

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