Tag Archive | ethnicity

IN CELEBRATION OF THREE KINGS DAY… THE COLORS OF JESUS

nativity scene spanishThe Christmas lights shine across the room, reminding me that this is the season to rejoice in the birth of a savior named Jesus. I remember as a child I would sit in church staring up at Him, wondering what made him so special. It never occurred to me that in all the churches we attended throughout the world, that He always looked the same. His long brown mane flowed past his strong lean shoulders, his arms stretching out about his flowing robes as if welcoming others to join Him.

Over the years I would see images of Jesus as a baby in his mother’s arms, or as a child fishing or working with wood. He always had the same sun-kissed brown hair. His eyes were never a color that I recollect, but piercing, as if judging me as I judged Him. But He was always pale, the color of a soft sea shell with a hue of pink.

Then one day I was walking along at a flea market and there before my eyes was a black Jesus. Iangel holding a black Jesus stopped and looked at him for only a moment and moved on. But my mind was racing as I walked. It had never dawned on me that Jesus might be black. Why couldn’t He be black? Why couldn’t He be of yellow tones, or be of a different ethnicity than my own? After all, our world is made of of many different people of color and race!

It wasn’t until much later in my life did my thoughts arise again about the skin color of Jesus. I was standing in a small boutique when my eyes caught the carvings of a Mexican nativity. I gently picked up one of the kings and studied his face. His moustache dipped down past his chin while his bushy eyebrows seemed to come alive on his brown wooden painted face. His robe of bright yellow seemed odd with its dashes of orange that marbled his attire. He was quite festive looking. He made me smile. Jesus lay in his crib nearby, round and chubby with the same brown paint for his skin. Could Jesus be olive skinned and not pale like I once thought?

Mongolian nativity

Mongolia

Then, a few years ago, I discovered the most amazing and wonderful thing as I was at my neighbor’s home. There, in almost every room of her home sat the most incredible nativity sets I had ever seen. Chinese, Haitian, Philippines, Myramar, Mongolian, Cambodian, and Italian among others. I stood in front of each of them, marveling at the details that shaped the faces; the slant of eyes, and yes, the color of skin. For those carved of wood, I looked to see if the same gentle face stared up at me from the manger…it did. The face may have been round, pointed, hallow, but still the eyes stared up onto me, studying me as if wondering why I looked different than I had when I was young. I set about taking pictures of each nativity, waiting for the perfect time to share them with others.

Philippines nativity

Philippines

Mongolia nativity

Mongolia

Thailand nativity

Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Haitian Nativity    african nativity                   And then, as I made my way across the United States on a trip, stopping in Santa Fe, New Mexico, imagine my surprise to see an American Indian nativity. Each piece shaped in the image of Native Indians. It was lovely. I began to think again… could there be Irish nativities, Russian or ones from South America? After that, I began to search the nativities out… finding them everywhere, all unique in their own way. And then I understood.

 

       

For Jesus is all colors, all ethnicities, everything we are. For God gave His son to us in the image we would understand and learn to love.

 

And so, when Christmas comes around, I gently place my Italian nativity on my curio shelf and smile. For looking up at me is that innocent face of Jesus. He seems to know that although my face has aged and weathered since I was a child, I have not changed my love for him… regardless of his many colors. For He is all things to all people, but mostly, He is love.

 

 

Author’s Note: Feast of Epiphany or Three Kings Day is celebrated around the world by Christians on January 6th of each year. It represents the day the Three Kings appeared to Jesus in a manger bearing gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh. Each gift representing the acknowledgement of Jesus as the King of Jews. For more information click here

Thank you to Ingrid & Mark Gillette for sharing your many nativities with the world.

 

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Stories of Best Friends for Life

Courtesy of Google  Images Commentsyard.com

Courtesy of Google Images
Commentsyard.com

Today I was reminded of the true meaning of Best Friends. We all say we have them. Sometimes we say we have more than one. Perhaps it’s possible to have decade best friends, or school best friends….or even work best friends. But no matter how you cut it, a best friend is someone special. A best friend is someone you have for life…they are someone who takes a special place in your heart that no one else can take away. These are a few mini-stories of best friends….

 

~She sat with him all night as he rested in the hospital bed. The nurses arrived almost every hour on the hour keeping her awake. Exhausted she knew she needed to be by his side to support him and give him encouragement.  She shifted in her hard-backed chair watching his breathing thinking back to the time they met as fourteen year olds. Little did she know then that they would marry  and live a life of fifty-seven years together. Her best friend would do the same for her she was sure, that’s just the way it should be after all.~

~She hugged her best friend as she excitedly emerged from the long car ride. They hadn’t seen each other in years, yet they both looked the same. Their smiles revealed their bond that had been forged in middle school. She grabbed her best friend by the hand and said, ” I’m not sure where I would be without you.” Her best friend shakes her head and replies, “I feel the same way about you.” Thirty-eight years later and they seemed like they hadn’t been apart a day.~

~He stood tall and lean as she raised her eyes to him. Reaching up she placed the baby in his arms as a smile crept upon her face. They had been married nineteen years and now were finally blessed with a child. They had suffered the heartache of lost babies, but not once did their love for each other falter. Their lives would certainly change now, but as long as her best friend was by her side, she knew everything would be okay.~

~They stood together as a team while the onslaught of customers crammed into their small ice cream shop. They had once had different jobs, but wanted to started their own business together. She barked out an order to him as he lugged a tub of ice cream from the back and set it where she pointed. She smiled up at him and said with a hint of laughter, “What would I do without you?” His reply caught the woman at the register off guard, “Find a new best friend?” They laughed, for ever since law school they had celebrated being best friends.~

~Their grandchildren scurried up the stairs ahead of nana and pops, eager to find the latest book to read. She laughed as he caught her at the top of the stairs and put his arm around her. “I love you!” he whispered quickly into her ear. “And I you,” she replied with a soft smile that warmed his heart. He could hardly  believe she was still his after all this time. He had found his best friend and married her within three months…and now they were grandparents…grandparents in love.~

~He stood tall with his medals on his chest as he scanned the room. Saying goodbye to the service was going to be difficult, but his time had come and he welcomed the road ahead of him. In front of him was his best friend from training school. They had started out together and through the years had shared the love of flying, family, and friendship. He was his best friend to be honest…a friend who no matter where he was stationed was always there for him. Now that he was retiring he knew there was one thing that would remain the same in his life…his best friend of thirty years.

~Tears ran down her face as she laughed hysterically at his imitation of her. “I do not do that!” she managed to say as she tried to catch her breath. He had always made her laugh from the very start. It wasn’t that he was a funny person, he just had a way about him that made her laugh. They had been through thirty-three years together, and still they loved being in each other’s company…after all they were best friends.

“I’m glad I married my best friend,” she stated as she wiped her eyes.

“So am I,” he said. “Who else would I pick on and love all at the same time?”~

Best Friends come in all shapes and sizes, color, and ethnicities. They defy logic and are worthy of great literature. We all have one at least once in our lifetime…and if we’re lucky we have more than one. Who is your best friend? What’s your story?