Beyond the Mistletoe

Terry Mahoney /Monday, December 13, 2021


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! Brighten your home with this exclusive Cat Nativity Creche!     

“With mice standing in for sheep, this 13 piece set includes a stable with star, 3-wisecats, a shepherd, an angel cat with wings and a halo plus an adorable feline holy family. Each cat is sweet faced, hand painted and finely detailed ...”

So reads the Holiday Catalogue delivered to my door this morning, coincidently, just as I was pondering what I could possibly write about Christmas 2021 that had not already been written over the last 2,020 years.

But PTL, here it is! Delivered out of the blue, from an unknown but clearly savvy marketing director who knows what truly tugs at the heartstrings and wallet of those who by gosh and golly want it to be all about mistletoe and holly and, of course, a cute cat creche to remind us, cautiously, of the backstory.

Yes, methinks, coincidence my foot. This nativity scene is not simply a cutesy caricature of the meaning of Christmas but a foggy reflection of what once was known to be true somewhere in the mists of time, but is now, for many, simply a fable from the stable, a child’s fantasy - cute, hopeful, but unlikely to be true.

After all, who can without a reasonable doubt, believe that God, very God, actually exited HIS throne room in heaven and descended to the squalor of a fallen planet, disrobing all the way, to be fully incarnated as a shivering vulnerable infant, expelled from the warm cocoon of a teenagers unopened womb into the chill of the night and then swaddled in dusty clothes in a dank dark stable and deposited in a food trough as a first stop on His way to the ignominy of death on Cross!

No Crying He Makes?

The old refrain, “the little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes” is a mockery, ludicrous and oh so short-sighted.

The sweet mewing of a new-born kitten is the promise of a hearty Meow when the cat comes of age. But the certain and infantile cry of then baby Jesus, is truly the first cry of a soon to be lion enraged by the perversion of His will for His beloved creation, and creatures.

I think the crying of the child in the manger that night was Jesus’ desperate piercing cry as of night terrors emanating from the spectre of abandonment and rejection by Creator and creation alike, which was to be this child’s all-too-real fate some 33 years later.

Christmas is not all and only about green mistletoe, warmed red wine, tasty pastries, and sweet fluffy calico cats.

It is, I believe, about two puzzling and paradoxical truths. 

  1. A declaration of Divine unconditional love for each and every one.
  2. A declaration of Divine war on any and all forces that would dare to rend creation itself and the unity of all humankind from the Trinity - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Christmas can be, and perhaps to some extent should be, a magical time for children in the expectation of gifts and joyful family gatherings.

But for us adults, there is no magic in it. It is all miracle, and real, in the certain hope, and promise, of the unearned gift of salvation and the consequent eternal celebratory gathering of the family of God.

What a gift, this Christ in a manger, in a barn, in the city of bread. 

Real food. Real drink. Real life.

Merry Christmas indeed!

Terry Mahoney is a Chaplain with Corporate Chaplains. To read more blog posts from our Chaplains, you can visit our Corportate Chaplains page.



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