Transforming the Créche
By Rochelle Cassella, SOSFNC Communications Director
Nativity Scenes spark many memories in me, including the year my friend and coworker struggled over the family creche with her young son. My friend admitted she was a bit compulsive — she had a specific spot within the scene for each figure, which stayed from year to year. One day, she came into the office and said that her five-year-old had moved the figures around, and she’d had to put them back. This continued for several days, with my friend becoming more frustrated. I couldn’t quite understand why it made such a difference; tradition is great, but I saw this as her son putting his mark on the Christmas story and creating a new tradition, a thought I wisely kept to myself.
Several days later, she said she found Transformers in the creche. These are action figures from a science fiction movie series; the Transformers start as ordinary machines, then transform into giant robots with personalities who came to save Earth from other aliens. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Each day, she would find more and more transformers and other superhero action figures in the creche, replacing the Holy Family, sheep, cows, shepherds, etc. Eventually, my friend and her son agreed; he could have an action figure creche if he left hers alone.
When I think about it, this story has layers of lessons —a mom recognizing that children bring compromise into your life, a child expressing the birth of Christ with figures he related to. And was he that far off base? After all, Christ is a transformer and a superhero, coming to save Earth from eternal death. Weren’t the three wise men transformed by following the star? I think Mary and Joseph, accepting the responsibility to raise the Divine as human, were superheroes. And I don’t believe those shepherds ever looked at the sky again without remembering seeing angels there.
There’s the old saying, “Out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom.” In this case, it came from the creche of an independent-thinking five-year-old.