Encouraged to ‘make a scene’




PARISHIONERS of the Archdiocese could be forgiven for making a scene this Christmas.

That is how they are being encouraged to visit a three-day Nativity roadshow coming to Canberra for the first time.

The exhibition, ‘Making a Scene at Christmas’, will be held between December 8 and 10 in the Haydon Hall of St Christopher’s Pastoral Centre.

Featuring 350 Christmas nativities from more than 80 countries, the idea was born in 2012 out of a desire to highlight the Gospel message of the incarnation of God, born as a defenceless infant of Mary … a God who took on human form to redeem humanity.

The nativities range from commercial mass-produced items to hand crafted works of art.

They cover the biblical story of the Incarnation, from the Annunciation to Mary of Nazareth through to the Flight into Egypt.

The works originate from cultures as diverse as Vietnam and China, Israel and the Palestinian territories and indigenous tribes in the Amazon jungles of Argentina.

Of particular interest are brass figures carved out of bullet casings from AK47 assault rifles used by combatants in the 14-year Liberian civil war.

Also confronting is a traditional nativity from Bethlehem, with a twist that acknowledges the contemporary reality of its residents.

It includes a separation wall much like the one that cuts through Palestinian land to the north and west of Bethlehem.

Fiona Tonkin and Fr Andrew Hayes of the Ballarat Diocese will present at the exposition along with Keith Linard from Holy Rosary Parish at Watson.

Mr Linard says the exhibition presents an opportunity for teachers to show students regardless of their ages or backgrounds, the wonder and awe surrounding the birth of Jesus.

“Most importantly, the nativities provide an entrée to family discussions and activities around the true meaning of Christmas,” he said.

“They give an evangelising opportunity to parents and grandparents to change the focus from presents, pine trees and Santa to the reality of the incarnation, Jesus coming into the world.”

Ms Tonkin says the exhibition has garnered widespread appeal throughout Victoria.

“Making a Scene at Christmas began in 2012 and has been a wonderful means of spreading ecumenism by way of sharing it with other Christians,” she said.

“Those who come can smell real frankincense and myrrh and see a coin from the time of the census that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem.”

During the three-day exhibition there will be hands-on craft activities for children, along with nativity jigsaws, puppets and books.

Viewing times across the three days are 2pm to 7pm on Friday, 10am to 5pm on Saturday and 9am to 7pm on Sunday.

Entry is by gold coin donation.

For more information call 0412 376 317.