Every year the Movement of Communion and Liberation proposes the image of some art work and a text to help us live the mystery of Christmas.
This year the picture is from “Stories of Christ’s Childhood: the Nativity”, by Giotto and his workshop, circa 1313. Lower Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi (© Photo-archive of Saint Francis Sacred Convent in Assisi).
“The Nativity of the 2016 Christmas poster is part of the cycle of frescoes in the right transept of Assisi’s Lower Basilica […] When compared with the famous fresco in Padua, the scene of the Nativity seems more like a ‘fable’ with that crowding of several narratives: there is the arrival of the shepherds, but also a nurse who takes care of baby Jesus. This composition, crowded with so many elements, is slightly naïve, but ultimately it depicts Christmas as a great celebration. The order in which the elements are arranged shows a balance that is the fruit of a great pictorial vision (Giotto’s “thinking mind” mentioned by one of his most important scholars, Luciano Bellosi). Instead, the candor with which the scenes are then painted reveals a lesser personality that compensates for the gap with the master and a certain weakness in the drawing with some moving psychological details, like the smile that illuminates Mary’s face as she watches her Son.” (Giuseppe Frangi, “Mary’s smile”, Traces, December 2016, p.7).
The text of the Christmas poster is a quote by Saint Bernard de Clairvaux from “In Vigilia Nativitatis Domini, Sermo III, 1 PL 183.” This is the passage:
“He wanted to come among us, when He could have simply settled for giving us help.
All you who lie in the dust, wake up and sing praise, because the healer comes for the sick, the redeemer for those who were in slavery, the way for those who were lost, the life for those who were dead. He comes, the One who will hurl our sins into the depths of the sea, who will heal all our illnesses, who will carry us on His back to restore our original dignity. Great is His power, but greater still is His mercy, because He wanted to come among us in this way, when He could have simply settled for giving us help.”
(St. Bernard of Clairvaux)