Gracia Kuchaczuk (in the style of Arte Isleño)
Attentive observation suggests that representations of the Nativity follow two typical movements. There are nativity sets where all the characters move forward and gather around the manger. A different and more recent tradition reverses the movement and sends the Holy Family in search of the world and of people. In this set we see the Holy Family in open space limited only by a distant horizon separating water and sky. We don’t know where their boat—made from leather—will take them The sheer limitless space seems like an unfair challenge for the humble couple and their child. But there lingers a confident joy on their faces. The mission is engaged. It must continue. This set is reminiscent of a different boat ride and a different river. Representations of the flight to Egypt has the Holy Family riding the river Nile. The banks of the river are infested with wild animals, lions, and dragons. Threatening first, they will eventually follow the Holy Family subdued and subservient. And thus, again and again, the message of Christmas travels the world.
Reprinted with permission from the University of Dayton, Marian Library Collection. All rights reserved