December 25, 2012
IT'S THE MANGINESS THAT MATTERS:
Images of first Christmas owe more to artists than historians (Tim Townsend, 12/25/12, post-dispatch.com)
Posted by Orrin Judd at December 25, 2012 9:25 AMHistorians and theologians say it is that sense of family intimacy, coupled with the humbling circumstances of Christ's birth as told in the Gospel of Luke, that has resonated with Christians for centuries.Many Christians hang a crucifix or cross -- a symbol of the resurrection -- in their homes, "but the other pillar of Christianity is the incarnation," said St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson. "When the savior of the world was born, he wasn't born in a palace, he was not born as a king. He came as a defenseless child."And, of course, Luke made Christ's vulnerability even more stark by placing Mary and Joseph in a stable. When the time came for Mary to deliver the child, she "gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn," wrote the author of Luke's Gospel.Public Christian art didn't exist before the Roman emperor Constantine lifted restrictions on Christians in the fourth century. As soon as Christ's followers were allowed to practice their faith out in the open, Christian artists began to depict the Nativity, which comes from the Latin word "nativus," or "born."