Tonight it was still, cold and clear up at Taizé and a goodly number of people had gathered for the Christmas service. The nativity scene is almost complete with the addition of baby Jesus to the crib. The Three Kings will take another couple of weeks to arrive, coming from afar as they do.
The nearby villages also make great effort to present their tableaux. The prize for originality must go to the village of Confrançon for their depiction of the manger scene. On the roof of the stable is one of the storks from Cormatin Chateau carrying the awaited baby in its beak. The baby is actually a Smurf. The storks have been rather busy this year as there are quite a lot of Smurfs in Cormatin too.
Happy Christmas to everyone!
We’ve been a bit slow on the decorating front, largely because the decorations are in the attic and the ladder is at the gite. But we called in at Taizé today to see what’s happening there. It’s a Mexican Indian theme this year with colourful dreamcatchers made out of sticks bound with raffia.
However Brother Stephen’s Mary & Joseph look rather mournful; a donkey and a cow look like coming to blows over the empty crib. The sheep have yet to arrive and the shepherds are not painted in.
Last year’s effort was much livelier with wonky camels and a cage of hens. But perhaps we should wait a bit longer…. The donkey was being very patient.
Coming home we were surprised to see new additions to our village decorations. I hope Santa isn’t missing a reindeer. We also have a fox and a wild boar. Well done Martine & Martine!
Today is the first Sunday in Advent, the time of expectation and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. So what’s better than to go to Taizé to see the beginnings of this year’s nativity scene.
No Wise Men on camels yet, nor shepherds. They will come later. And no baby. But Mary was very expectant, sitting on a stool while Joseph held the donkey. There were not just cardboard models….
A real donkey was corralled nearby, and chickens in the straw under an old cart. The two sheep were happy to be patted in return for pieces of bread.
An icy wind was blowing on the hill so we didn’t stay long and went down to Cormatin to look at the work of Les Oiseaux Rares, a group of artists based in Cormatin. Amongst them was Patrick Balleriaud whom we have often seen busy drawing portraits at Cluny market. He was interested to know we owned La Maison du Curé as the old Curé had conducted both his baptism and his marriage.
More local artistic talent was to be appreciated at St Gengoux le National. The Mères Noel are a group of 22 women artists who are celebrating their 30th year of exhibitions. There are an amazing number of potters and painters in the Clunisois area.
We will go back now and again to see how the nativity scene is progressing. We are planning a post Christmas walk there on 29th December to see the final version. Details to be posted later on www.cortambert.eu.
Taizé is deserted. No-one is to be seen except for a permanent who knits while she minds the shop. The Community of Taizé has gone to Rome for the annual European meeting.
Pope Benedict will lead the prayer in St Peter’s Square on Saturday. More people than ever are going this year so he is making an appeal for accommodation. It sounds as if some of the pilgrims will be lucky to find even a stable.
The African nativity scene
Outside the Church of Reconciliation at Taizé is the most wonderful nativity scene. It’s African this year, to mirror the recent meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, the pilgrimage of trust first proposed by Brother Roger.
- The three Kings
...and one of the shepherds with his Calvin Kleins
As there was nobody around it seemed a good time to look around the Romanesque church of Taizé. This is where the Community started, before the Church of Reconciliation was built fifty years ago. Around two sides of the church is a graveyard. We marvelled at the simplicity of the graves of the brothers; no marble for them, just simple wooden crosses.
The Church at Taizé and the graves of the brothers.
It is the season of goodwill for our cats too. Since the disappearance of Blanche and Claude, Smudge hasn’t tolerated being the sole recipient of Benedict’s affections. But as I write, just for a little while, peace!
Smudge & Benedict