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Updating Christmas, Part 2

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

In the last post I used an illustration (Jose y Maria by Everett Patterson, a comic book artist) that re-imagines the typical Nativity tableau). I do not know the artist's original motivation--perhaps more political than incarnationally spiritual--but that is the beauty of art: the product outgrows and outlives the original intention.

The familiarity of the Nativity story wears on us or begins to bore us, individually and culturally, so we look for ways to re-picture it, re-understand it, re-explain it. We crave newness but want the core of what we know. (Derek Thompson explains this quite well in The Hitmakers). We write new songs, paint new pictures, make new movies, but they have to have a ring of familiarity to them.

That is a good thing from a communicating to a new generation viewpoint. But I have to ask why we need the newness so much. Perhaps we don't need it as much as crave it because our brains have been reshaped by electronic and Internet media.

Not to throw cold water on these efforts. They challenge the human heart and mind and spirit. But I wonder if we just aren't spending enough time on the already-there and interacting with it.

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