In Bignan, France, the community of the Daughters of Jesus experienced “visitations”: small daily gestures of attention to others that brought a joy that none of them could ignore. All of this made for a gentle Christmas.
In a world that is often gloomy, sometimes tragic, the Nativity invites us to seek out and welcome the gentleness of Christmas with simplicity. It is to be found in in what might seem insignificant to us, like the exchange of a smile, or the joy of an encounter. It is there that the gentleness takes us back to childhood and invites us to welcome with joy the eternal goodness that the birth of the Lord brings us.
Christmas in the Community
On Christmas Eve, this joy came to us in an unexpected way. Sr Marie Thérèse’s nephew and his three children, offered us a Christmas concert. Nothing was missing: guitar, flute, triangle… Starting with “Ring the Bells”, we all joined in this and many other songs, to the delight of the artists.
Lucie, a neighbour and regular visitor to the house, then came to visit. Kneeling in front of the crèche, she contemplated…Are those the three wise men? No, they were sailors made by Marie-Thérèse for the joy of the little sisters, and to share the gentleness of Christmas.
Christmas in the church
In the church, the Christmas crèche was part of the real history of mankind.
Louis Morio, a former mayor of Bignan, has reconstructed part of the village as it existed in the 19th century. The model of the crèche covers 12 m²and shows the streets as they were, along with numerous characters modelled and painted by the artist himself. A soundtrack of Christmas songs accompanies all of this.
The Sisters from the Motherhouse, Kermaria, came to the church of Bignan to discover and admire this Christmas model which required a lot of time, historical skills and reference to archival data. The author explains in a fascinating way the stages of its realization.
While contemplating the model, one can hear the echo of the traditional song composed by Father Noury during his exile in Portugal:
«Péh trouz zou aren doar » / “What is this noise on earth?”
A joy shared by all :
- in a continuing celebration
- in moments of fraternal encounter
that is the gentleness of Christmas.