19 December 2007

Nativity scenes. I've always loved them. Growing up, we had one that my father brought back when he returned from overseas. It was very simple, just Mary, Joseph, the baby, and an angel. One cow and a sheep, that over the years lost a leg. I loved finding it when mother would bring it out of the attic with the other decorations. Now, I don't know where you worship or what you believe, but as my father aged he began to resent seeing nativity sets during the Christmas season. He had his reasons and they were valid. To a point.

I know we should celebrate His birth each day and that we should also celebrate His death, because in dying, He arose. I know all that and I believe it wholeheartedly. But, in his attempt to get the point across to us, he didn't want Christmas carols sung either. To do so, in his eyes, would be to appear worldly. And in his swing away from the scriptures the World tried to place on Christmas, he missed the whole point of what a beautiful story it is. And if this is the only time that most of our world ever takes the time to hear it, then we need to share it. And not be afraid.

While shopping with Jenny downtown recently, we came across a beautiful nativity set. She asked Ian who the baby was. He promptly said, "Moses!" She couldn't get him to say it was the baby Jesus. Now I don't think that's any fault of Brandon nor Jenny. I thought it showed knowledge on Ian's part that there was another biblical figure who's story began as a baby! But sadly, this is the only time each year that some children see parents hovering over a baby in a straw manger, with animals nearby, shepherds, and men bearing gifts. I'm sure they ask questions and I pray that they are given a patient answer, if no other than "that's how Jesus was born". And just maybe from that planted seed, more questions will follow and someday someone will have the answers to bring them to the Lord.

Share the nativity story. Share it with the holiness it deserves, the excitement of this miracle, and sing with feelings the beautiful hymns normally reserved for this time of year. And may your Christmas be filled with His peace, His grace, and His mercy. And if you have questions of your own, I pray that you will find someone to help you with the answers.

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