A True Nativity

13 12 2011

This is another guest post of a great nativity scene outside St John’s Church, Whitley Bay. If you’re up that way do pop by and see it. Thanks to Val for writing it. Revd. Carla Hall is the minister up in those northern climes and doing a brilliant job. Have a look.
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During Advent the churches in the North Shields and Whitley Bay Circuit are working with the theme of Christmas Present – with how the Christmas story can speak to today’s world. As part of that reflection, we have created a nativity outside St John’s Methodist Church in Whitley Bay.

We looked at contemporary situations where a child is born into poverty, need and homelessness. Photographs and stories of refugee camps across the globe helped us to focus on the wider world, not just our own communities. Many babies make their entrance into such an uncertain and hungry world. Then we came across a photo of a family who hadn’t even reached a camp; their make-shift tent had been pitched just outside, on the fringes of the camp. Therefore they had no access to safe shelter. Another picture showed a very young child carrying water in an old plastic container.

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Those people have been brought into the nativity. We made a tent out of tarpaulin to house the family. The baby lies in a plastic box on a wooden crate. Mary and Joseph wear clothes of that culture. We have left the features of the figures as plain wood so that people can imagine a place and context. The young child hovers at the edge of the scene, bringing a precious gift of water – an angel perhaps or a wise person. They all have the minimum of help, shelter and support. Yet the promise of new birth exists and we hope it will speak to our local community of hope and of light in our darkness.

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