Christmas Eve is a week from today, which means a week from today many of us will find ourselves at church celebrating the birth of Christ. Ever since I started working at a church I have spent my Christmas Eves at work. I don’t mind, though; it’s a lot of fun seeing friends and family, especially with everyone in the Christmas spirit.
Nativity scenes are one of my favorite parts about Christmas. I have one that I took from my mom when I moved out and Alycia was given a cat nativity last year. Regardless of what kind of nativity we have, we can see ourselves in the different figures.
Mary is a great example of what it means to surrender. She was a teenage girl whose entire life was transformed in an instant. When the angel told her that she was pregnant and would carry God’s son, Mary simply said that she was God’s servant. Mary was completely surrendered to God’s will and hopefully we can follow her example.
I love Joseph because he chose to do the right thing even when it was difficult. When Mary told Joseph that she was pregnant with God’s son, Joseph had every right to make a spectacle. He could have publicly humiliated Mary, even pushing to have her stoned. Yet Joseph chose to divorce Mary quietly; he did the right thing even when it was difficult. It was only after Joseph did was right that God showed up. We often want God to show up before we do the right thing. More often than not, though, we have to be like Joseph and do what we know is right and trust that God will reveal himself.
The shepherds were so excited that they couldn’t even. After visiting Jesus the shepherds went into town and told everyone what they had seen; they were the first evangelists. And even though we may not all have the gift of evangelism, we can all be like the shepherds. We simply need to be willing to tell others what God is doing in our lives.
Even though the magi weren’t actually at the nativity scene, I still like seeing them hanging out at the manger. They were willing to travel hundreds of miles to simply fall down at the feet of Jesus and worship him. I’m often not even willing to wake up 15 minutes early to spend time with Jesus, much less travel across a desert to be with him. This Christmas we could strive to match the magi’s drive and desire to be with Jesus.
Christmas is great but we can make the most out of the season by making the nativity personal for us. It’s not enough just to look at lights and open presents; we need to respond to Jesus like those who surrounded him at his birth.
Where do you see yourself in the nativity?