Monday, December 19, 2016

Focusing On the Nativity

Christmas decorating begins with clearing off all the flat surfaces in the area to make room for the Nativity scenes. I have more than 10 sets, all quite different, yet, very much the same. They remind me what Christmas is all about: the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us.

Because of my 'thing' for sheep, each Nativity features a number of sheep and shepherds. And one set is a scene of sheep in costume, acting out the Nativity. Some might call it sacrilegious or irreverent but I find it wonderful. I believe, even the sheep that came with the shepherds to find Christ that night were worshipping the new King. And if sheep had human abilities, they too would retell the story of the angel's visit and announcement in the pasture.

When our first grandchildren were little I purchased a Fisher-Price Nativity that they could play with and it has been placed on our fireplace hearth every Christmas since. It plays "Away in a Manger" when you press on the angel on top. Some people wait and place baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas day but I have Him in the manger throughout the Christmas season because He is the focus of our celebration, and our daily lives. I love the Nativity scenes because they remind me to look at Christmas from the eyes of a child, with wonder and excitement.

"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:1-7 NIV).

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