But then I looked more carefully a few hours later while pretending to dust.
Instead of three wise men, I saw one wise man standing next to a freakishly smiling blond, a praying Mary, and some camels. One of them was upside down.
Another wise man stood on the roof with a sheep. They both had their eyes closed.
And beside baby Jesus, Joseph stood dumbly on one side and a palm tree stood on the other.
But if I hadn't looked carefully, I would not have noticed this folks. From afar, it looked like any other toilet paper nativity scene. I felt blasphemous.
And then I was ashamed. Briefly. To place an angel next to a dude with a crown, that seemed like the premise of a porn-o. And her grin, well, let's just say it's not too far off what I would imagine a porn star's smile to look like.
To place a palm tree where Mary should be, well, that just put objectification of women as objects into a whole different realm. Do women matter at all? Or are we just manipulated into looking pretty and standing guard over the young ones?
And. The other wise man beside the tree, two men beside a baby, clearly we aren't in Utah. Don't make me pull out my favourite shirt.
Yet baby Jesus seemed blissfully unaware throughout the whole ordeal. Like he usually does. He sorta looks the same in granite, on canvas, and in toilet paper. That oblivious grin. Or is it? That grin seems so innocent.
Truth: When I was a child, in the images of Jesus I saw a simple smile that said, "All is well, you are safe, there is no monster in your closet." When I was a teen, it was a reassuring smile that said to me, "Don't worry, I still love you, even though you make a lot of bad choices, and are quite reckless." And then, older yet, I saw a smile again: "You will get what you want. Someday. Even though you're such an idiot. Just wait." And a few years later, it was an "I told you so, you idiot," smile. But now. Now as a 40 year old, the smile seems to mock, but in a way that taps my elbow, as in, "I know. I knew you'd be ready to get to know the real me eventually (you idiot), I've been waiting for you to sift through all the BS. Let's start again. This time, put away what you think you need to accomplish, what you think you need to be, look like, have, etc. Let's drill down to what all those desires really tell us about life. And then let's get to the good stuff."
And that's a scary yet lovely smile.
An innocent smile that knows you more than you think.
So I left our Nativity scene. Just like it was. To remind me of what I think Jesus and Christmas is all about. All kinda mixed-up: a mirror to what I've imagined religious and sanctimonious b.s. to represent, and now that the disrespect is out of the way, let's finally say and search for what is real and what we need. Because I think if I don't do it this way, there is no point.