This is my most recent ornament acquisition, and the last one you'll see this season. It's really pretty isn't it -- all clean and sparkly, starshine overhead -- the Christ Child even seems to be glowing, a happy unintended result of the camera flash.
But what you don't see is...what you'd expect to see on the floor of a stable. Come to think of it, the manger would probably be one of the only places in the stable not full of it.
Ship of Fools recently ran an essay about reality vs. kitsch that spotlighted the caganer , a traditional figure in Catalan creches. A caganer is a peasant, crouched in the back of the stable behind the Holy Family, calmly taking a dump.
As Herr Doktor Luther might ask: What does this mean?
As Herr Doktor Luther might answer: The world is full of shit. We're all the caganer. And it's into this world that Jesus Christ -- the image of the invisible God, in whom and through whom and for whom all things have been created -- came, and dwelt among us, as one of us, out of love for us.