OH JOYOUS NATIVITY

2 Dec

OH JOYOUS NATIVITY!

NATIVITY photo: nativity SJV_Creche_lg.jpg  It was discussed on the radio this morning that there aren’t as many nativity plays being enacted in schools as there used to bein days of yore.

What a crying shame!

There’s a really good point to be made here, though.

There’s the belief thing. There will be small and closed-minded band of atheists dancing in joy when they read reports of the decline of the humble nativity play at Christmas. They will be grinning from ear to ear because what they see as a false religion’s remorseless move into the future via the children of today actually teetering into the oblivion they’ve dreamed of for it since they first discovered that Adam had the same number of ribs as Eve, is actually happening in front of their very eyes.

What this brigade of “enlightened” people can’t see is the absurdity of their stance, and I can write quite openly about it because I’ve got at least one foot in their camp. The Christian religion is a nonsense and anyone with half a brain cell in order can work that much out once they’ve cast aside the mantras that have been played at them since their birth. And, incidentally, it’s not just Christianity but all other religions in which the ancient belief in an all-powerful creating deity is espoused. You’ve only got to de-construct the things, starting at the beginning (Adam didn’t have an extra rib compared to Eve and all other faiths have an equally nonsensical point near their mythical start on which too much is built) and then move through the old assumptions until eventually you find yourself with nothing. And nobody wants to believe in that!

Yet there’s more to it than an old story that might entertain us when the winds blow cold through our world, and snow lies all around us in virgin piles. It has got roots, ancient roots, and although we know just how impossible the nativity events are (no real deity would so re-organise the heavens that an impossible and brilliant new star shone on the unlikely place where a birth took place), ancient roots seem to mean something. How else could The Lord of the Rings be so absorbing?

But there wasn’t a Santa Claus either. Nor, I firmly believe, was there a Robin Hood, robbing the rich in order to feed the poor, together with his band of merry men. The three bears never did sample porridge in Goldilocks’ little home and there never was a construction company manned by three rather smart pigs with varying attitudes to building materials. Neither did a little girl with a fondness for scarlet headgear have a set-to with a rather unpleasant wolf who was intent on misbehaving with her grandmother. These things didn’t happen in the real world, and nobody grows up believing that they did. Yet there are stories concerning the antics of these characters in every well-equipped nursery anywhere. They’re fairy stories (with remarkably few fairies in them) and even young kids know they’re not true. They certainly don’t spend the remainder of their days attending church services in praise of this or that fairyland character, would they? Or mutter obsequious prayers to a fat egg teetering on a wall? So why need a bit of fun around a manger mean any more?

There is a down-side to the traditional nativity play, though. Once an already disproportionate number of shepherds have been selected, and Mary and Joseph are in place along with five or six kings, the rest of the children, so as not to be left out, are nominated as sheep or trees, and at that point they know, for the first time in their sweet little lives, that they’re crap actors. And their parents are equally aware that their shining-eyed offspring aren’t seen by everyone as being shining-eyed. But whatever the story being enacted for loving parents to oo-ah at, there will be little also-rans playing invisible parts where they’re just about involved in the glorious drama on an infant’s stage. We can’t blame it all on nativity plays!

But, bearing in mind this last rather unhappy point, I can’t see any rational reason for pushing nativity plays into the garbage tip of history unless, that is, you think, with a little unwanted bit of your mind, that they might contain the merest soupçon of truth in them, and you can’t stand the thought of that!

Tea towels on tousled heads: I love ’em!

© Peter Rogerson 02.12.14

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One Response to “OH JOYOUS NATIVITY”

  1. georgiakevin April 4, 2015 at 10:42 pm #

    As you know I think that you are an incredible writer, I son’t know when I have been busier but I have saved most of your work since December and I have finally begun to read your fine work. It was worth the wait.

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