Years ago I stumbled upon a book about the Christmas tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Loretta Hines amazing collection of santos and angels from 17th century Italy. It is one of the things I really long to see. For it’s beauty, yes. For the size and scope, yes, that too. For the artisanship that went into creating them, oh yes, I want to see that. But most of all I’d love to see the display of ordinariness around the nativity. Italian and french nativities are not describing something out of this world, but an event just in the middle of our ordinary, everyday world.
Each figure is called a santos, a saint. More often than not the small doll is an ordinary person, going about her day to day business, and then the miracle happens. I wondered why God did not choose more fancy surroundings when he came to earth. Would it not have helped his case to be born among the well connected, those with money, influence and power? I am quite sure some of them knew the Lord, and would have been eager to help. For him as God I think he wants to make sure no human will be able to take credit for what only God can do. For him as man, for us as men, I think he wants to show us that being human is glory enough. Nothing can be added to make human life more valuable, except life itself, nothing can be taken away. He came to restore the possibility and promise in being human, not to make us angels or gods, just humans. Saints of every day.