The Power of Christmas

Dec 21st 2017

Have you ever taken a close look at your nativity scene? Each person has their own version of the crèche and everyone is unique as we each portray this special moment in our own culture and style. Have you really thought about all the parties gathered together around Jesus? Now let’s be up front and honest. We know the Magi / Wisemen didn’t come at the same time as the shepherds. Two years difference in fact. But isn’t it a neat idea to just think about and even just to entertain. That someone could bring

together all the people of the world. Different races and cultures, the rich and the poor, all together for a common goal. Just think about trying to name another time of the year where people come together like they do at Christmas. Even people who normally have little to do with each other come together. Brought together for a common meaning. Not because they have any mutual attraction but because they are each drawn to worship this special child. In his birth, Jesus brought together all people. Even if it is only for that one day a year. He brings every one together. Name a country or an individual that can do that?

With that in mind stop and take a closer look at the Nativity Scene. Look at the cross culture within the group of people. A young woman named Mary, who is a virgin but also probably a teenager. So that makes her a teen mom. She was a true servant of God and was chosen by Him because of her faith and her servant heart. Joseph who was a skilled craftsman. By today’s standard he would represent the hard working middle class. Shepherds; they were dirty and smelly, weren’t well liked, classified as untrustworthy and even called “riff raff”. Then the wise men. Educated and wealthy and from a different land which made them from a different ethnic background. All were there in the presence of this baby.   Where else could you find such a mix all together? Such an unlikely assortment. Poor, middle class and wealthy all together for the same thing.

The wonder of God bringing this group together does not stop there. We need to take another look at each participate in the nativity. Not only do they represent a cross culture of society but look at what each part represents. Consider if we were to follow in the footsteps of each of the parties involved could we bring more Peace and Joy to the season and be closer to God. Let’s start with Mary, an ordinary young woman.  But Mary was special. She was willing to sacrifice her reputation and plans for God.  An angel appeared and told her that God would give her a child within her and yet she was a virgin.  Her future would be turned upside down by this. What would Joseph think? What would her family think? Being unwed and pregnant was unacceptable in those days. But what did Mary say “I am your servant Lord, may it be to me as you have said” She was willing to sacrifice her plans and possibly her life. She was willing to put aside her comfort and worldly pleasures.

Joseph was asked to believe the impossible. Like many he started out not believing and not having faith in what Mary had said. But an angel comes in a dream and comforts his fears. The shepherds were watching their flocks when the angels came and told them the news. The shepherds were willing to seek the truth on faith and faith alone.  Not knowing what the out come would be, they made a choice.   The Shepherds make it into the Christmas story because they chose to say “Let us go see” and they did.  They were shown the light, they believed in blind faith and they followed the light.

The Magi were willing to change their belief system. To believe in something that exceeds our ability to understand. They followed the light of the star.  They completely believed in what they were looking for.  When everyone else saw a night sky, these men saw the light. The sight of the star made them desire to come to the light. It lit a fire in their hearts. They started to seek Jesus and had complete faith in the purpose of their journey even though it meant a long time of traveling and going through some harsh conditions.  We are all like the Magi in a way. We are on a faith walk in our Christian lives to seek Jesus and draw closer to him. That walk is not always easy. Sometimes it’s even scary.

Jesus with all his power and being the son of God was willing to humble himself.  Look at what all these parts of the story represent both physically and figuratively. When you factor in that the story of Jesus birth is foretold in the Bible in Isaiah 7, 14.  “But the Lord will still give you proof. A virgin is pregnant. She will have a son and will name him Emmanuel.”  You have to see that God had a bigger plan to bring all the people of the world together. In this theme the Nativity scene we set up at Christmas is a portrait of   what God is seeking for us to be like in the world. That every culture and nation come together and live in peace and love.

Matthew R. Marshall