A Dublin Nativity Scene – Who Is Looking Over Holy Mary’s Shoulder?

Every time I see a nativity scene it reminds me of a very funny story, told to me by an Irish teacher and friend.  It centers around one little, Dublin girl’s hilarious interpretation of Silent Night.

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/amanderson/4195512869/in/photostream/Image Credit

Do your kids listen to Christmas carols, reinvent the words, then sing their own unique version?

One school day before Christmas, my friend asked her class to draw a nativity scene.  The kids soon got to work with pencils, markers and crayons, drawing beautiful stables, mangers and cribs.  In all the lovely drawings, Mary watched over the Baby Jesus, while Joseph stood by.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/roberto8080/5291896167/Image Credit

She stopped at one little girl’s desk to admire her master piece. She grew puzzled when she noticed a huge guy, right in the middle of the nativity scene, peering over Mary’s shoulder.  After careful examination she accounted for all the important characters, angels, shepherds, wise men, sheep, cows and camels.  This large fellow was a bit of a mystery.

“Who’s that there?” she asked the little girl, pointing at the rotund onlooker.

“That fella there, is Round John Virgin, miss,” the little girl announced proudly.

“Round John who?” she stuttered trying to control her laughter.

“You know miss.  Like in the carol, Silent Night.  ‘Round John Virgin, mother and child’.  He takes care of Holy Mary.”

How my friend did not break down laughing in the middle of her class is beyond me!

So every time, I set up my own little, nativity scene, I think of Round John. I picture him standing beside Mary, looking over her shoulder at the Baby Jesus, like their body guard.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrconguito/5335955266/in/photostream/Image Credit

Was he a shepherd?

Or maybe he was the stable bouncer.

Perhaps, he sent the shepherds back to the hills in search of sandals, and a jacket, or a cloak or whatever was deemed appropriate, stable attire back then.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/maggiew/224319039/in/photostream/Image Credit

Maybe I found “Round John” in this picture!  He’s probably the red-faced one with the shepherd’s staff as disguise!!!!

Anyways, as I have quoted before, and probably will many times again:

“Out of the mouth of babes,

Oft times comes gems.”


“Round John Virgin” is a definite gem.


If your kids have reinterpreted any Christmas songs, creating their own hysterical lyrics, please do share in the comment section below.



Nollaig Shona Duit

(Merry Christmas)

Irish American Mom