Social media sometimes brings up some absolute gems. I saw a post on Twitter about a ‘minimalist’ crib scene where the people were represented by balls of different shapes and sizes. The Magi were the largest balls and depicted in regal blues, purples, and golds. The shepherds and Joseph were smaller balls, and more ‘humble’ colours. Mary was smaller and blue. Jesus was a tiny white ball. Instead of the conversation disintegrating, there was a poignant post about how the smallest and the simplest ball in this scene was the most important.

St Francis of Assisi is credited with the introduction of the crib scene, with the aim of encouraging people to concentrate on the Holy Family and pray. This year I have looked anew at the crib scene. The Magi had been waiting for a sign and travelled with purpose to visit Jesus. They must have seemed quite different to the others around them. The shepherds (possibly my favourite in the nativity narrative), heard the angels and then dropped everything to go to visit Jesus. People in their finest robes who had been making grand plans for many years, and people who were working outside in the cold who heard the news and came. Both sets of these people were acceptable to come before Jesus.

When I look at the crib scene, I see people of all shapes and sizes, of all nationalities, of all backgrounds. It doesn’t matter if you are the large, regal, purple ball or the smaller, slightly scruffy ball. Come as you are; you are loved.

Jen Midgley-Adam