T’is the season! Here they are, popping up inside and outside of large buildings, manmade renditions of the biblical nativity scene. These invariably consist of a couple with a baby, a few shepherds and some farm animals in a shelter/barn/stable setting. This is close, or close enough, to be biblically correct.
A concern to me, however, are the three added guests; herded personages prostrating themselves towards the manger and seemingly offering coffers and vases as gifts, presumably to the child.
These manmade presentations born of religious tradition with poor biblical foundations are misrepresentations.
First, they falsify the true abject poverty of the situation by embellishing it with earthly treasures. Secondly, they hold a complete lack of chronological biblical understanding of the event. They met the child and his mother at a house, months and months later, shortly before they fled from Herod into Egypt.
One might be inclined to believe that these scenes come out of dusty attics or basements of these large buildings that display the scenes, but not so.
The Vatican boasts of a “world famous nativity display” in Rome, blesses by Pope John Paul II in 1982. Faithful Catholics can order from the Bradford Exchange a replica to scale of the life sized figures used in the nativity scene at St. Peter’s Basilica. Both of these nativity displays hold the biblical inaccuracies cited above.
It is somewhat of a pity that leaders of Catholicism should offer such a distorted presentation of this well documented event. A quick reference to the biblical text by the religious leaders of the Vatican would be all that is needed to correct these inaccurate biblical presentations.