Nobody can harden their heart to a helpless and hungry new-born child in need of love and care. We respond to any such small yet perfect creature, knowing instinctively that it needs to be held, nourished and protected. Like the birth of any human child, it is easy to see how the Feast of Christmas opens up to us in an instant with the birth of Jesus.
And yet a tension of opposites comes with the birth of that particular baby: The Gospels tell us that, like us, Jesus is human. But he is also the Son of God. Present in this helpless child is Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth. The great majesty of God made manifest in a small human being. From the moment God becomes Man, the Old Testament ban against portraying God is overturned. In Jesus, God makes himself visible, he becomes flesh.
Art and Tradition of the Crib in Italy
As we look at the baby Jesus in the manger, his arms are stretched out towards us. He is seeing us. He wants to be received and accepted. The Son of God wants to give us his redeeming love. Let us receive him.
With gratitude for this exhibition of Italian cribs in Finland,
I wish all who see them and everyone a Blessed Christmas.
+Teemu Sippo SCJ
Bishop of Helsinki
The Bishop's thoughts were first published in the Exhibition Catalogue and have been republished here with the permission of the Italian Cultural Institute.