Some Things Just Don’t Make Any Sense

i‧ro‧ny   [ahy-ruh-nee, ahy-er-] –noun, pluralnies. Definition: an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected. As in:

Chicago Christmas Festival Nixes ‘Nativity Story’ Ads Over Fears of Offending Non-Christians

Nativity Scene in Daley Plaza

CHICAGO- A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film “The Nativity Story” might offend non-Christians. [source]

Such is life in the dominion of King Richard the Younger. Around this time of year several years ago, my boss, Joe Scheidler, got a phone call from a friend who urged him to come downtown right away, as city employees were acting on orders to remove the figures from the Nativity scene that had recently been set up in Daley Plaza. (City Hall had apparently grown nervous that its previous decision to allow a Nativity scene in the public square would prompt a lawsuit, so the decision was made to pull the plug.) Scheidler arrived to find the dismantling of the Nativity scene already very much in progress, with pieces being thrown into dumpsters. Not about to stand by idly while the figures of the Holy Family suffered the same fate, he and several others stepped forward. He held an angel, someone else held the baby Jesus, someone else the Virgin Mary, etc. The city workers weren’t about to wrestle the figures away from anyone, so they went on their merry way. Scheidler and others remained in the plaza, holding the figures. They weren’t about to leave. There they remained for several hours, long into the evening. Word quickly spread about the City Hall ordered raid on the Nativity scene, and concerned Christians began to arrive at the plaza to spell those who, by that time, were not a little cold and tired. A handful of folks held the figures for several more hours, then they were replaced by the next “shift.” The figures were held throughout the night, and well into the afternoon of the next day. By that time, an ambitious young pro-life attorney had managed to petition City Hall to allow the Nativity scene to be re-erected. And so it was. An odd saga, to be sure. But that’s life in Chicago. ***UPDATE, 11/29, 9:01AM: I had a hunch that John Kass would write about this story in his Tribune column today. Sure enough, he did: “And lo, City Hall ordered the heralds to cry the mayoral decree from the top of every two-flat and skyscraper in his domain…” Read the whole thing.

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