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Christmas is Coming

By Stuart Frost

I have been posting a new blog entry here every two weeks since October 2006. The gap between this posting and the last one is the longest that there has ever been, a sign of how hectic things have been over the last couple of weeks.The Adoration of the Magi, Museum no. 2418-1856

Time seems to be running away rapidly. December seems to have come around extraordinarily quickly. I’m looking forward to Christmas this year and having a break with family and friends. In an attempt to get into the festive spirit I’ve decided to post an image depicting the Adoration of the Magi. Each of the three Magi (sometimes shown as kings) has brought a gift to present to the infant Jesus. It is an extraordinarily vivid and colourful image and one that is loaded with symbolic meaning. There are numerous Adoration and Nativity scenes represented on many other objects in the medieval and Renaissance collections.

The same Christmas stories always reappear in the newspapers every year in slightly different versions. There is always, for example, a story about some aspect of the Christmas festivities that has been cancelled due to concern about offending non-Christian communities. I haven’t read one of these yet, but I’m sure there’ll be one. These sorts of stories give incidents that are extremely rare a profile that is out of all proportion. This morning I opened the newspaper on the train on the way to work and was faced with a story about a school caretaker who’d carved a Nativity set from wood reclaimed from school desks. I’ll look forward to reading the plethora of other Christmas related stories that will emerge over the next couple of weeks. If anyone reads a particularly good one please do let me know.

The image posted above highlights the origins of gift-giving at Christmas.  There are nineteen shopping days left until 25 December 2008.  I haven’t done any yet so I’d better get started this weekend!

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