Amazement at the Grotto

It appears early each Advent season, the massive crèche mounted on a platform of hay bales at the western edge of Notre Dame’s Grotto. Vibrantly colored, oversized figures of Mary, Joseph, an adoring shepherd, the oncoming Magi, some eerily well-groomed livestock and a girlish angel overhead, all symmetrically arranged around an empty patch of stable floor. All the figures, even the animals, have credulous and startled faces. The Baby is not yet where their apprehensive gazes fall.