I don’t know if I mentioned it before, since I hardly ever talk about my dog (what?), but she barks maybe once a week. Never at the door, or Shelby’s (R.I.P.) favorite targets (i.e. phones, garage doors, UPS trucks, dust molecules, and mean looking dudes), except maybe the dust molecules, if they look particularly scary. She will, however, bark in frustration at basketball games if she is not invited to play.
All this to explain my surprise at watching her bark at baby Jesus last night on our pee walk. It might seem a more rational approach to the situation when I explain that the baby Jesus was part of one of those blow-up Christmas yard decorations that seem to be all the rage amongst the peppier and, let’s say, less discriminating yard decorators (although that might be a contradiction in terms). (Ms. Awfully Judgmental, line two….)
It probably didn’t help Annie’s composure that the whole thing was just being tilted into position as we turned the corner and happened upon it – the whole thing being the whole crèche scene with barn, Mary, Joseph and manger complete with smiling baby. Or it could be that she barked at the incongruity of it all: a plastic, lighted, fan-blown, primary-color, ode to capitalism, depicting the birth of the Prince of Peace and a big devotee of communal living. Or it could be that she was just confused because Joseph, clad in bright red, looked a lot like a young Santa Claus. Why is Santa looking on at the birth of Jesus? Of course, this ties up those two rather divergent Christmas stories quite well, doesn’t it?
I would dismiss the whole “Santa as Joseph” thing as a bad choice of colors and an overzealous depiction of the abundance of Joseph’s beard, but on the way back, I noticed that the same house sported a window painting (I know!), which depicted Santa, a passel of reindeer, and next to Santa, an angel, obviously approving and keeping watch over the reindeer flock by night. I kid you not.
Now, I’m not sure where to begin or end on the theological and/or political significance of this tableau. (Do I have to mention that the car in the driveway sported a W04 sticker?) Surely they are confusing Christianity with capitalism, or maybe its just a case of thinking that “A Visit from St. Nick” is a chapter of the New Testament. Discuss.
I don’t know. But Annie has requested that we find a different route until the holidays are over.