Crib Has Lesson for Environmentalists, Says Prelate

Sees Right Relationships Revealed in Bethlehem

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

LONDON, JAN. 1, 2010 ( The scene at Bethlehem shows harmony between all the elements of our created world and is a call to remember how we depend on each other, creation and God, says the archbishop of Westminster.

In a pastoral letter for the Dec. 27 feast of the Holy Family, Archbishop Vincent Nichols reflected on the lessons to be drawn from the Nativity scene.

«Look at it this way,» he said. «This scene contains all the elements of our created world. The hay and straw of the stable represent the fruit of the cultivated earth. The ox, ass and the sheep are the animal kingdom. At the center is the person of Jesus. And, without ever romanticizing poverty, there is a certain harmony between all these elements. Each one has its place. Each one has its space. And all serve the well-being of the weakest and most vulnerable person, the newborn child.»

The archbishop proposed that this reflection could «have a special resonance at a time when we are intensely conscious of the fragility of our world and the threats to its stability.»

«Today we have to find a balanced and sustainable relationship between ourselves and the natural world, and between all people who share this planet,» he proposed. «Unless we do so, the chances of peace in our world are slim and the careless exploitation of our environment will continue.»

And, the London prelate affirmed, «These right relationships have to begin in our homes.»

Archbishop Nichols suggested that the crib «reminds us that we are really dependent on each other, on the created world and on God. Only when this dependence is acknowledged have we a hope of realigning ourselves and our way of living into something more appropriate to the needs of each other and of our environment.»

This realignment has practical effects at Christmas time, the prelate added: «Of course over Christmas we have been spending hard-earned income in order to express our love and thanks for each other. We must also have felt the pressures of advertising and expectation to spend more than we could afford. Yet, at the end of the day, in our family celebrations, what counts is sincerity rather then extravagance, sensitivity rather than excess. When this is understood, then we can probably live far more simply without any loss of enjoyment. Then we can be more attentive to how much we consume, to what we throw away, to what we have to give to the poor.

«The crib, then, is a lesson in right living, in the regard we have for each other, in our support for the poor and in our care for the created world.»

— — —

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation