Saturday, December 12, 2009
Virgin and Child
Several Christmases ago I took Sheriee and Crystal, two 10 year olds from an after-school program in the South Bronx, to see the Neapolitan tree at the Metropolitan Museum. Those children lived in the country’s poorest congressional district and were excited just looking at the front of the building. I think they would have been content playing outside in the fountain, but I corralled them in and led them toward the gallery where the tree was. When they turned the corner and saw it for the first time they gasped and stopped dead, staring in awe.
After a bit Crystal decided to explore the surrounding artworks. She read a label and looked up at me and said, “Virgin and Child?” The room, as usual, was super crowded and I thought, "How do I explain this simply with all these people around?" Before I could say anything, Sheriee piped up and said: “She was made pregnant by the Holy Spirit.” I thought, "Oh, that explains it," but Crystal realized she had heard something about that before. “Oh, yeah, yeah,” she said, before moving on to other works.
Finally she threw up her hands and said, “Virgin and Child again! Did the same person do all these?” No, but it was the same Virgin and Child.
Now each Christmas when I open my cards and once again see an image of Mary and Jesus I say, “Virgin and Child again” and I think of Sheriee and Crystal.