Christmas 2021, Day 7


 The Adoration of the Shepherds by Master of the Prayer Books (Flemish, active 1500s). 
Shamelessly pinched from J.R.'s Art Place, who notes with delight I share the man dancing with his dog at the bottom. 

You should read this FB post, it's lovely, and offers "Tidings of Comfort and Joy." 

It reminds me of an observation I've published before that Cardinal Ratzinger made about Christmas "materialism" and tackiness

Nowadays a theologian or preacher is all but expected to heap more or less sarcastic criticism on our popular way of celebrating Christmas and, thus, to contrast impressively the sentimentality of our celebration with the reality of the first Christmas. Christmas, we are told, has been commercialized irredeemably and has degenerated into a senseless marketing frenzy; its religiosity has become tacky.

Of course, such criticism is largely justified, even though it might too readily forget that, behind the facade of business and sentimentality, the yearning for something purer and greater is not entirely extinguished; indeed, that the sentimental framework often provides the protecting shield behind which hides a noble and genuine sentiment that is simply reluctant to expose itself to the gaze of the other.

The hectic commercialism is repugnant to us, and rightly so: for it is indeed utterly out of place as a commemoration of the hushed mystery of Bethlehem, of the mystery of the God who for us made himself a beggar (2 Corinthians 8:9). And yet, underneath it all, does it not originate in the notion of giving and thus the inner urgency of love, with its compulsion to share, to give of oneself to the other? And does not the notion of giving transport us directly into the core of the mystery that is Christmas?