Room at the Inn. 12-16-08
Even though I am no longer a practicing Christian, even though terminology would classify me as an agnostic-atheist, every December I unwrap my nativity scene and display it where anyone who enters my home can see it.
What does this mean? And likewise, what does it mean that I've left my Virgin Mary, mother-of-God statue on the lawn where I placed it when it was given to me twelve years ago when we moved in? Hypocrite.
What does it mean that I thought I could let the wild rose bramble and honeysuckle vine and Rose of Sharon obscure it from view as a rebellious act -- but that after a little while, I couldn't carry my rebellious act through. Or wouldn't.
Wouldn't obscure that image, that portrayal, that representation of a woman who for all intents and purposes had absolutely no choice but to accept her fate and be forever painted as the "Madonna of the Streets." A pregnant virgin. An oxymoron. A prostitute? Raped? Abused? Just a silly horny girl with no form of birth control to resort to? Who WAS this Mary?
And who was this Joseph hero, this man who came to her aid, who saved her honor, maybe even more possibly, her very life and the life of her unborn child? What was in it for him? He certainly couldn't have predicted the love that would reign down on him in exchange for his devotion and belief in Mary.
To symbolically defy all the Casey Anthony's and Susan Smiths' and Andrea Yates' of the world, all those who do not cherish their children, all those who do not cherish women simply because they are women, to symbolically refuse the ideology of all the sexist men who think women are disposable little earworms, for all the young children whose brains aren't developed enough to recognize the sacrifices their parents make for their sakes, for me -- so that I can continue to speak my mind openly without fear of retribution (manners help) and so that I can remember to honor my own mother, and hers, and hers, I leave that statue.
And every year I display the trumpet-blowing angel, the wise men, the camel, the donkey, the lamb, the boy, the shepherd, the mother, the father, the newborn. For what reason? To honor humanity. To honor our humanity in an always difficult world. To show honor to those, especially, who do not fit into our subjective social ideals. To honor our ability to seek out, to surround ourselves with and to live peacefully among trumpet-blowing angels, wise men, and all the creatures of the earth. To honor our sensibility to aid others and to accept aid; to let others in, and to honor the humility that comes with knowing that others will love us and help us, despite our differences.