During Advent I prepare my Nativity: I stick on the wall my starry sky, make the mountains with empty boxes and old newspapers, a small river, the grotto, few lights, then I start filling the scene with my little statues: shepherds, sheep, donkey and ox, the Angel, Mary and Joseph. I prepare the crib with straw, and at last I place baby Jesus. Everything is just perfect, and I find myself looking often at this scene, in
silence and wonder.
Everything goes so fast these days, and Christmas has become a peak of this stressful time, where we all run like headless chickens shopping, decorating, buying useless presents; what a contrast with baby Jesus laying in the crib, his arms open to embrace the whole world…
When I was little, on Christmas day at my parent’s table there was always an outsider, the neighbour who had lost her husband a few weeks earlier, a distant relative popped out from nowhere, a poor man met in church; that’s how I learnt how lucky I was and how important it was to share our wealth.
‘Enough with these immigrants, they should stay in their countries, they come and steal our jobs’, we come first! We close our doors; we build walls around us. My little baby Jesus lies there, in the cold under the starry sky; he knows about rejection and poverty…
I look at my child with Down Syndrome, with a contagious happiness, spreading joy around him. What a shame! I overhear a lady saying in church. The real shame is that we will soon eradicate Down Syndrome – how good we are with words – as effectively we will just kill them all, like Herod killed all the babies in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph flew to Egypt to protect Jesus, and I wonder how am I going to protect my
son from all the Herods he will meet along his life. We are in this world to learn to love, and my child is so much ahead than me in this journey, he is often leading the way, and I follow and learn. “A child is born, to us a son is given”.
A brand-new baby to start afresh, to make everything new. Christmas means hope for the future, it’s God telling us: it's going to be ok, and that's Christmas to me…