I love the Christmas Story, the lights, the glitter, the love. I love that the day coincides with the first glimmer of the rising sun. I love the madness that reminds us how tenuous our grip is.
Here’s a photo from the 2022 Vatican nativity scene. It’s a lovely crèche, and as tradition mandates, the Magi are there, bearing their gifts.
Only problem, the wise men didn’t show up until a year or two after the birth, at least according to the Holy Bible.
But here’s the rub–just asking a practicing Christian when the Wise Men finally got to Bethlehem often brings an incredulous stare with a hint of hostility.
I’m not looking for a fight on Christmas Day. I was raised Irish Catholic, grew up with various crèches as much a part of today as our tree and our Santa, and put faith in The Gospels (while recognizing humans told these stories long after the Crucifixion).
If the Vatican sanctions the bastardized story that the Magi were present the night of Jesus’ birth, a story the Holy See must know to be corrupt, what hope does a science teacher have of sharing stories that do not fit a child’s preconceptions of the universe?
None, actually, but my goals are far less grandiose. I just want a child to learn to see, and to question inconsistencies in our stories based on the natural world.
If a child happens to question the inconsistencies in other parts of her life–sustainable economic “growth,” Peacekeeper missiles, and a nuclear submarine named the USS Corpus Christi (“the body of Christ”)–she has a chance to change a human world that needs a bit of changing, a world that is worth saving.