Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Into the New Year

Workmen were gathered around the Christmas tree in the darkness of the early morning. Their large truck, parked beside the Coliseum, was already laden with plants that, a few minutes earlier, had been positioned around its base. Before long, it was not only the plants that had vanished, the massive tree had also been denuded of its hundreds of lights. This evening, it still soared skywards, but was bare of decorations. Within the next day or so, the tree itself will have gone. Christmas is over.

Yet, in St. Peter’s Square, the tree is still shimmering in the sunshine and ablaze at night. The Crib is there in all its loveliness and will stay intact until 2nd February, for such is the custom in Italy. Not all the signs of Christmas are taken down as soon as the Feast of the baptism of the Lord is celebrated and the Christmas Season finishes.

Yet, although the evidence of the Nativity was in the process of removal around the Forum and the Coliseum, there were several gypsy women around, carrying very newly-born infants, begging and declaring that they are hungry. It’s not true for the most part. A surprising number of these babies are rented out for the day and will have several ‘mothers’ during the course of a single day.

The market stalls around Rome are laden with goods that were left over from Christmas. It’s easy to buy all sorts of items at cut prices, whereas, even a few days ago, their cost was inflated, sometimes beyond belief. Everywhere, there are sales.

The New Year is in progress already. It’s almost as if Christmas never happened…yet, whatever might or might not happen in the course of 2007, at its core was a young woman who had a baby, whom she called Jesus…..

God bless,

Sr. Janet