Today is December 25, 2010. Time: 07:50 a.m. All is quiet outside our house in Panama City, except a cracky radio playing old nostalgic songs of yesteryear. Today we celebrate in Panama the birth of the son of God, Jesus Christ who was born in a crowded stable in the town of Bethlehem. Humility best describes the nativity scene of the baby on the manger.
Last night at exactly 12:00 a.m., my wife and I lighted a candle, and before a table served with several types of food, we prayed before the Light which represented the new-born child. It was a spontaneous prayer of happiness and hope for the future thanking our Lord for all that He has given us. Primarily we prayed for health. My health has been frail during this unfolding year. I’m doing everything I can to recover my health. This is my number one priority.
We also prayed for the hundreds of Panamanians who lost their belongings during the worst floods the country has had in the last ninety years. These people—in great need—are living in schools’ gyms as temporary shelters. Our hearts feels out for their pain and their severe restrictions.
The Nativity of Jesus, or simply The Nativity, refers to the accounts of the birth of Jesus. The traditional accounts appear in the Canonical gospels. Various apocryphal texts also mention it. The Nativity is the basis of Christmas, which is an important Holy day celebrated by Christians worldwide.
The artistic depiction of Nativity has been a major subject for Christian artists since the 4th century. The Nativity has been depicted in many media, both pictorial and sculptural. The largest body of musical works about Christ in which he does not speak are about the Nativity.
A large body of liturgical music, as well as a great deal of para-liturgical texts, carols and folk music exist about the Nativity of Jesus. Christmas Carols have come to be viewed as a cultural-signature of the Nativity of Jesus.
The main religious celebration among members of the Catholic Church and other Christian groups is the church service on Christmas Eve or on the morning of Christmas Day. During the forty days leading up to Christmas, the Eastern Orthodox Church practices the Nativity Fast, while the majority of Christian congregations (including the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, many Mainline churches, and Baptists) begin observing the liturgical season of Advent four Sundays before Christmas—both are seen as times of spiritual cleansing, recollection and renewal to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Apostle Luke had this to say about the birth of Jesus, the son of God.
The Birth of Jesus
1. In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3. And everyone went to their own town to register.
4. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7. and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”
During the last three decades our Nacimientos have slowly disappeared from our homes. They have been displaced by Christmas trees imported from Canada, Santa Claus and other foreign cultural icons. We decided to keep our Christian roots and displayed our nacimiento in the living room. For as long as I can remember, there has always been a nacimiento in our house for Christmas. Without a nacimiento, Christmas would lose its religious spirit—its raison d’être.
Below are several pictures of our small nacimiento representing the birth of Baby Jesus in a humble stable in the town of Bethlehem. It’s the classical nativity scene of Christmas.
Lingua Franca takes this opportunity to wish a very Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it, and blessings for a full and peaceful year 2011. God Bless!