The 2017 Vatican Nativity Scene

A visual tour and my thoughts on this year’s Vatican Nativity – starring Dead Baby Jesus, Creeper Guy, Naked Guy, and Dead Guy.

Ever since Pope Saint John Paul II added the Vatican Nativity to the piazza, there has always been a secondary theme. This year it’s the Corporal Works of Mercy. The scene takes place in 18th century Avellino, just outside of Naples, thus the Neapolitan dress of the figures.

The focus of every Nativity is Baby Jesus, of course. Being Advent, usually the manger is empty and everyone is just kind of hanging out waiting. In this case Baby Jesus has a white sheet draped over Him. I don’t like it. Looks too much like Dead Baby Jesus. Couldn’t they make a removable baby like so many others?

Update!!! The Vatican heard my critique and wrapped Baby Jesus in red. Now it’s no longer Dead Baby Jesus and instead Christmas Present Jesus. Much better! 👏👏👏 Now I hope they stick a bow on the wrapping. (I’m sure my critique had nothing to do with it, by the way.)

I got a glimpse of the Nativity before it was officially revealed. I didn’t know the theme, but right away I saw the creeper lurking in the shadows below. Turns out he’s the “visit the prisoners” guy. I have no doubt he was locked up for being a creepy creeper guy.

I didn’t even notice at first, but several people on an earlier video I posted on Instagram asked me about the naked guy – also referred to by some as Nude Dude. Obviously he’s the “clothe the naked” guy. I get that it fits the theme, but seems an odd addition to the Nativity. I typically like my Nativity characters clothed. He’s also extremely cut. Just look at that naked guy! Why is he laying around all naked by the Holy Family anyway?

Next we have “feed the hungry / give water to the thirsty” guy and “visit the sick” guy. Nothing exciting here.

Now if you look in the back you’ll see “shelter the homeless” guy. So other than one of the Three Kings, the only other two black guys in this Nativity are homeless and in jail. What’s up with that?

“Bury the dead” guy was the most shocking for me. The way he’s off to the side, away from the action with that freaky dead white arm hanging down. Very unexpected. I can’t imagine a joyful little kid here to see the Vatican Nativity and coming across the dead guy with no context. It’s bad enough with context.

Don’t get me started on the Wise Men. How did they arrive before Christmas Present Jesus was unwrapped?!?!

The tree this year is absolutely amazing, but I am not a fan of the creepy Nativity.

What are your thoughts?

For future reference: the nativity and tree were officially unveiled and lit on December 7th at 4:30 PM.

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