Five years ago, Portland-based comics artist Everett Patterson illustrated his family’s Christmas card. The image, which he called Jose y Maria, went viral. Take a look at Everett’s updated Nativity. Take about a minute and talk with a few of the people around you. See how many connections to the traditional Nativity scene you can spot. (There are approximately 4 million, so don’t worry about getting them all).
This image is super cool, and provocative for all the right reasons. I love it in part because it’s so creative. But I also love it because it helps us to feel some of the scandal of that first Christmas. After all, you don’t have to discuss this, but imagine the kinds of comments Jose and Maria might draw in real life. What kinds of assumptions might we make about them, about their life choices, about the circumstances that brought them to be stranded at the convenience store with nowhere to stay?
Jose y Maria makes me uncomfortable for all the right reasons. Because if you can feel a little of the scandal inherent in this image, then you’re ready to feel the scandal of the first Christmas story: