This is a picture of my very favorite nativity scene ever. I drive past it on my commute to and from work almost every day in December, and it never fails to make me smile.
I love it for two reasons. First, the whimsy. Oh, the whimsy! A green glowing alien there in the middle of a very traditional nativity scene! For an irreverent Catholic like me, what’s not to love?
But what’s even better is that this actually works, theologically, for a nativity scene that is actually showing the events of Epiphany. What we celebrate on this day, and what is shown here, is the story of the three kings, or wise men, or magi, who have come from the far corners of the world to give homage to the newborn king, with their symbolic gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Our world today is much larger than the world of the Biblical writers: it makes perfect sense that when 21st century Americans set out to illustrate people coming from all over creation, we would include extraterrestrials.
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts, we come from afar:
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star
…maybe the star was really a UFO? 😉
I didn’t realize, until I went looking for a photo of this scene, that the alien is bringing a gift too! He’s holding a camera, which obviously symbolizes that Jesus is the image of the Father. 🙂
Happy Epiphany, everyone!