Caravaggio – “Nativity with St Francis and St Lawrence” 1609
Oil on canvas, 268 x 197 cm – Formerly in Oratorio di San Lorenzo, Palermo
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Movement and stillness are carefully contrasted in the Christmas Story. First, there is the tedious moving of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a journey by donkey of some seventy miles. Accompany them. Take the reigns of the donkey so that Joseph can tend to Mary without distraction. Kneel with them in the stillness and awesomeness of the birth. Drink in all the power of that silent night.
Energy shifts to the angels announcing and singing before the shepherds. By faith your spirit mounts with theirs. From the stillness of a winter’s night-watch over their sheep, they run in haste to the manger. Their out-of-breath-ness slows to an immense peace, and then energy again as they become the first missionaries of the new presence.
Where does all this leave you? Take your cue from Mary who “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
The donkey to Bethlehem v. 4
Laying Him in a manger v. 7
Hosanna in excelsis v. 14
Mary ponders in her heart. v. 19
This is the fourth of four weeks in Advent, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
We read the Gospel of Matthew, except during Advent, the Infancy Narratives of Luke.
The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12,
so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions
near the International Date Line.