Two babies in one crib

Two babies in one crib


If we don’t find love in our hearts we will never find it in a crib or under a Christmas tree. Representative image/Pixabay

For Christmas 2016, Pope Francis chose for his greetings a scene from a fourteenth-century fresco painted by the artist Giotto Di-Bondone inside a church in Assisi, Italy. Quite unusually, there were two babies in the nativity scene, one held by Mary and another held by a midwife sitting underneath her.

The two babies illustrate two sides of Jesus’ nature —the human and the divine, recalling the need to alleviate the suffering of others. Saint Francis of Assisi who gave us the traditional scene of the crib had a vision to reach all levels of society — the rich and poor, literate and illiterate.

In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public institutions. While sharing the traditional Christmas story in a certain orphanage, the children’s eyes lit up in amazement as they never heard the story before. The children were then given materials to make a crib and retell the story.

Six-year-old Misha’s crib looked unusual. There were two babies in the crib. She narrated: “And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa and no place to stay.

Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. I told him I didn’t have a gift to give him.

So I said maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift and I stepped into the crib”.

If we don’t find love in our hearts we will never find it in a crib or under a Christmas tree. The joy of Christmas is to realise not what we are in life but who we have in our lives and who we are to others. There may be someone around you in need of understanding and forgiveness or a shoulder to lean on. When we reach out to them, Christmas comes alive.

Saint Paul sums up what it is to be Christ-like: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).