The presents have been opened, carol services attended, and probably far too much food has been consumed in many households. Christmas Day has been and passed for this year, but I’m deliberately lingering in the beautiful wonder of the best gift ever.
Since childhood, the Nativity scene has intrigued me. I would annually take time to set up my parents Nativity set and think about all of the people God brought together that first Christmas. Not only did it remind me of the real Christmas meaning, but I liked to think about each character who witnessed the baby Jesus.
Now my Anna and Luke have taken over the job of setting up our Nativity and I had to have a little chuckle when I saw an additional friend had been added this year! (See above photo) I’m pretty sure penguins were not part of the animals present at the birth of Jesus, however my little Luke’s love for penguins made him decide to add one to our Christmas scene.
During December, one of Charlie and my traditions is to watch the 2006 film, The Nativity Story. I am always fascinated as it depicts the characters so well and I feel as if I’m getting emotionally connected to the people who were woven into the story of Jesus, the Christ child coming to earth as a symbol of God’s love.
As we watched the movie again this year, it really made me think of what a honourable man Joseph was, when he found out his wife-to-be was pregnant and certainly not by him. First, he chose to dismiss her quietly when he could have had her publicly humiliated and even stoned. Then from a dream, it was revealed to him that Mary was telling the truth of conceiving through the Holy Spirit, and Joseph choose to believe in faith. He demonstrated great courage to love and care for Mary and baby Jesus even before he could have really understood it all.
What character in the Nativity are you? It’s difficult to pick just one, but I think mine would be a shepherd. I’m just an ordinary person with nothing super special about me and yet I continue to be amazed that God revealed his good news of Jesus to lowly shepherds first. It is so beautiful that God came to the most humble of men, revealing to the shepherds the Saviour’s birth and also choosing to show them that His love made them special, even if their society didn’t think much about them.
What I love about that first Christmas was that ALL types of people were invited. Wealthy wise men, lowly shepherds, Mary and Joseph from the small town of Nazareth were all strategically picked to show mankind that no one is excluded in God’s offer of love, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life by accepting Jesus.
God’s hand of protection was over them all that first Christmas, getting everyone to the right place at the right time. The Spirit was and is still moving. Jesus wasn’t just a gift for the few on a specific day, but rather he was born for all people on every day. Love came down in the most tangible of ways: the innocence, gentleness, and wonder of a new life.
So although our traditions for celebrating Christmas have come to a close for this year, may we still be captivated by God’s deep love for all humanity and commitment to us by sending His own Son. May we never lose the wonder and excitement of Jesus entering into our world to show us true life by believing in Him. May we keep the Christmas message alive in our hearts, appreciating it ourselves and wholeheartedly sharing with others, the best gift that could ever be given.