Autor: Peter Houston
Category: Testemunho Pessoal, Missões nos Centros Urbanos
My wife and I bought a transparent nativity scene that we stuck up on a window to cover a crack. (We took it down the other day because the window has been repaired by our church...) The stable, the figures and the animals are in white profile. It is beautiful at first glance. So we were sitting having a cup of tea and talking about distortions of the nativity and took a closer look at ours.
The trees overshadowing the stable did not look middle-eastern, but that’s ok since the picture is probably based on a medieval European depiction of what went on and how were they to know any better?
The shepherds and their sheep were there with the wise-men and their gifts. Again, out of sync with the timing portrayed in scripture but as a stylistic device it captures what went on.
Sheep were there. Cows. The traditional donkey. And a pig.
A pig. A pig in the nativity scene. A pig in a Jewish story about a Jewish family.
Now that would cause offense to a Jew! It made me wonder what there is in my version of the nativity that is like the pig in the stable? What do we do that causes offence to God’s sense of the nativity?
The angels announce at the birth of Jesus, “Glory to God in the highest; Peace on earth; Goodwill to all people.” The picture of the Good News carried by the church to the world somehow, sometimes doesn’t always ring true. There’s a pig-in-the-manger (to replace the ’dog-in-the-manger’ metaphor).
A congregant said to me, about someone in the church they had argued with, that they would never forgive them because the other person had made it personal. Another person was resentful of some confusion that had arisen in the rostering of a service and told me they were glad the other person was intimidated by them being present at the service. Again and again I’ve seen fellow Christians jump to the worst possible interpretation of a situation instead of giving one another the benefit of the doubt...
Seeking acclaim for self instead of glory for God. Sowing discord, conflict and discontent instead of peace. Being ungracious, bitter and resentful towards each other instead of overflowing with forgiveness and goodwill.
May our lived nativity message resonate with “glory to God in the highest; peace on earth; goodwill to all people.” And may we make the Good News of Jesus known to the world. May there be no pig in our manger!