A Labor of Love
This nativity scene by Slovakian artist, Peter Palka, is an award-winning set (first prize) of the 1996 International Crèche Festival in Bellingham, WA. It was featured on the 1995 Slovakian Christmas stamp. What makes this Christmas representation attractive is its simple beauty. It is made of corn husk, and artistically worked in great detail. Given the difficulty to work with corn husk, the finished product is not only an artful creation but also a true labor of love. The latter, a labor of love, echoes the deeper meaning of the Incarnation. The spirit of Christmas is God's labor of love for humanity, its beginning and promise for more labor and more love.
Worked as glazed and high-fired ceramic craft, this nativity set is a reminder of the ongoing tension between matter and spirit. The first impression conveyed by these figures is one of incompleteness. The clumsy and swaying characters are like silent cries, begging to be freed from the formlessness of matter. A closer look at faces and gestures tells a different story. They are full of life and silent but joyful animation.
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