According to the Good Book, an angel told the Virgin Mary, “Unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
As you know, I’ve been looking for nativity scenes in Panama and had not been able to find one. The tradition of the Panama nacimientos is fading away into oblivion, as many other values. I went to Albrook Mall, the Cinta Costera and several places in Panama, and couldn’t find a nacimiento. The search is now over. I found one at Calle 50 on the premises of Assa, a large insurance company.
It had everything a nacimiento should have. The Virgin Mary, Joseph the carpenter, baby Jesus, shepherds, lambs, cows, donkeys, camels, the Three Wise Men and a whole lot more. When I saw it, it was love at first sight. It was exactly what we had at home in Changuinola when I was a small boy. I felt relieved that at least someone remembered the true spirit of Christmas.
This is what I found at Assa at 11:30 a.m. on December 24, 2009. Fortunately I had my birthday camera with me. Here we go.
The large sign on the right reads, “The Birthplace. The tradition amongst Christians of representing the birthplace (nacimiento) of the baby God, dates back to the XIII Century. This initiative is attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, who wanted to improve the spirituality of the mystery of the birth of Jesus, by reproducing the place where the Redeemer was born.”
Balthazar was the Wise Man from Saba where “there groweth incense more than in all the other places of the world; it drippeth out of certain trees in the manner of gum.”
Melchior came from Arabia; he presented gold to baby Jesus. He was the smallest of the three Wise Men who came to the humble manger to pay respects to the newly born baby.
Gaspar came from a mysterious kingdom called Tharsis; “In his isles myrrh groweth more plentifully than in other places in the world. It groweth like ears of wheat.” He was the “tallest of person and black Ethiopian without doubt.”
These are the three kings of the East and the Magi who came to Bethlehem on the twelfth night bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They are named Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar. The rest is history.
These images constitute a perfect background to wish each and every one of you the Merriest Christmas of all. These pictures represent for us in Panama, the purest and truest spirit of Christmas. Good Day.