Wed
Dec 24 2008 7:23pm

Plea for Inclusivity in Nativity Scenes

[By Jo Walton; from her livejournal, December 20, 2005. Reprinted by permission.]

If we allow that any animals were present at the Incarnation
It seems unduly parochial to privilege our familiars.
If there was an ox, an ass, a camel,
Surely we must also grant other culture’s farmyard beasts;
Yaks, waterbuffalos, llamas.
More likely all the animals knew and came.
Making their way across unimaginable distances,
Swimming the oceans, climbing the mountains:
Penguins and polar bears from the distant arctics,
Tigers from India, zebras from Africa,
And all the way from China,
Bending over the manger in bewildered delight,
A small group of enthusiastic pandas.
Crowding into the stable, clustering together
Canonical lamb and unlikely lion, mouse beside elephant, robin, lizard, scorpion,
And everywhere, moving among them, angels.

[As a footnote, Jo noted that “Our Nativity scene also includes such oddities as two Marys and Josephs, one of the wise men being Buddha—and I think the onus is on you to prove he wasn’t among them—the presence of Cthulhu among the angels, a t-rex and rather a lot of dragons. The dragons and the dinosaur are allegorical.”]

10 comments
tudza_also
1. tudza_also
I believe *the* Buddha would have been allegorical as well, being dead for the past 400 or 500 years.
Jo Walton
2. bluejo
Oh, he's just *a* Buddha. A smiling one.
tudza_also
3. Tor Hershman
A Neanderthal man and/or woman may also be a cool addition.

Stay on groovin' safari,
Tor Hershman
David Lev
5. davidlev
When my family made a creche, we included vultures, french peasants, a corgi, and at least one village Catholic priest-figure that one out if you can
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
6. pnh
The fondly-remembered, long-gone Tor editor Anna Magee included multiple Godzillas. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, for he is large and scaly and destroying Tokyo.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
7. tnh
Such joy! Merry Christmas to the lot of you.

Do you move the Three Wise Penguins every day, until they reach the creche on Twelfth Night?
Jo Walton
8. bluejo
TNH: We used to, when we had a mantelpiece and when we had three of them. I'm sorry to say that one of the wise penguins broke his wing when we emigrated and been replaced by Buddha. Now I just arrange everyone crowding around the manger.

Merry Christmas!
Neil Clarke
9. Clarkesworld
This year, our Manger scene is straight out of Ultraman. If you want to know what Ultramas looks like, I posted some pictures.
Jo Walton
10. bluejo
I'd like to say that this poem was used in a Unitarian Nativity pageant yesterday. Google]I'm so proud.

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