Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas with Felix the Shrine Cat

  I want to wish you a Merry Christmas 
with Felix


Before the family really notices, it is Christmas. A small crêche is placed beneath a cone-bearing evergreen tree in the living room. All of the animals are there, artfully carved out of wood and appearing life-like.
Felix sees a donkey, an ox, some sheep, a self-confident dog.
Something is missing. A CAT? There is no cat in the scene. It doesn’t make sense to display a barn without a cat. A manger stands full of hay to the top although the animals are not hungry. Nobody touches the hay

This evening his people do not go to bed, rather they are festively dressed even though it is already so late. Felix wonders why they are dressed like that? Do they still expect visitors? Could they be delayed? They must be waiting for a very important visitor. It might be Marie’s uncle, the veterinary doctor, who lives far away or has to take an emergency call.
Suddenly Felix hears children’s music throughout the residence. The youngest son of the farmer brings a hand carved wooden baby and places it carefully in the manger. The grandmother whispers to her son, “Mary and Joseph are skillfully carved.” Now Felix can see the whole scene all together.
Joseph begins to read out loud from the Bible. It is a story that the kitten has not heard previously, although it gives him much pleasure when Joseph reads it.
How nice that Felix is allowed to be present. Nevertheless, he wishes that he would be able to shout,
“Where is the cat? There must be a cat. Who else would catch the mice? Should I stand in?”
Out of caution he dares not do this. It is already an exception that he is even allowed in the house. He would like to stay in the family and be not banished into the outer darkness. Therefore, he must remain quiet and unobtrusive.
The words from the Bible tonight ring in his ears for a long time.
It clearly said, “The people who walked in the darkness have seen a great light… the time came for her to have her Child, and she gave birth to her firstborn Son. She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn…”
“No doubt,” Felix thinks, “this must be the Child which I have long sought.”
Felix was also born in a stable. This moves him immensely. Perhaps he is the only creature in the world to understand what it is like to be born in a stable.
It bothers Felix now more than before that he cannot see a cat anywhere near the manger. Well, perhaps the family doesn’t have cats because felines did not live in Bethlehem. It is similar to the situation in Bavaria where no camels or alligators exist. Maybe in Bethlehem, cats are only kept in the zoo. Therefore, he isn’t that sure about this cat situation.

Probably, it is just an oversight—not surprisingly with the hustle-bustle of a King’s birth. This all happened 2000 years ago. History cannot verify exactly which animals were present, so to be on the safe side, some have been eliminated over time. Felix finally comes to the conclusion that it is likely not the focal point of Christmas celebrations.
The Holy Child is of course of greatest significance. He himself, being such a small cat, is overwhelmed with great joy that “today a Savior is born for us, Christ the Lord.” He wonders if his joy is comparable to the joy of the shepherds upon learning from the angels the Good News?
Later in the evening, Felix is all alone in the Christmas room giving him the opportunity to gaze and wonder as long as he likes. The family is at Midnight Mass and naturally no cat goes there. The kitten enjoys extraordinarily being the man of the house which lodges the Christ Child.
Finally, he sleeps and dreams that he is hurrying with the shepherds to the manger. The Christ Child is especially joyful to see such a pious and intelligent cat.

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