Why is the Christ Child so minimally clothed in the Nativity Scenes? There could been any number of reasons. First, it could be just an artistic representation of the vulnerability that God has placed himself in. God is now exposed to the world in a unique way, as an infant, needing Mary and Joseph’s protection. Second, it could be a reminder that the new Adam, Jesus Christ, came into the world with no sin and therefore is naked without shame like Adam and Eve were unclothed before the fall. This new Adam has come to restore humanities original innocents. Third, it could be just the makers of the Nativity Scene’s artistic license and there is no deeper meaning to be found.
Remember that the Scriptures talk about swaddling clothes which were long, narrow bands of cloth used to wrap around the new born infant. These bands were used to bind the child for protection, keep them feeling safe, and limiting the child’s movement. Perhaps if we think about the swaddling bands as an image of the sin which binds and limits humanity we can think that the Babe of Bethlehem has come to undo those bands and set humanity free from sin. Then, to depict him with little or no swaddling clothes, is an expression that Jesus has come to set us free from sin.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT What is my relationship to the Christ Child? Do I see how the Nativity of Jesus leads to the Cross? How can I accept the beautiful gift of salvation that Jesus brings? Do I desire to be set free from sin by the savior?