As in most Christian homes, our family has a lovely Nativity which is proudly displayed in our living room throughout the Christmas season. Each year I unwrap the delicate porcelain pieces and place each figurine in their perspective staged place within the manger. It looks picture-perfect.
Many years ago we bought our oldest, and at that time our only, son a play-set Nativity. At some point it was passed on to his younger brother, who still enjoys playing with it. Over the years many of the original pieces have gone missing; it’s no longer what most would call “beautiful” or even remotely “complete”. But instead of worrying over aesthetics, like an adult might, he simply has replaced the missing players with other, somewhat interesting stand-ins. For instance, I’m pretty sure we’re the only family on our block that has Power Ranger shepherds and a LEGO Princess Leia Mary!
Reading about Jesus’ birth in Luke, it’s interesting that out of every possible powerful or influential person in Bethlehem that evening, the Lord chose a group of humble shepherds as the only invited guests to the birth of the Savior of the world. Angels came down from Heaven and announced His birth to these simple working class men! The newly born King was surrounded by individuals who had nothing of material value to give Him, because instead they were the ones who received the greatest gift of all, His Grace.
Isn’t that just like our Lord?
While my son’s Nativity lacks the Renaissance-like beauty that my porcelain Nativity might have, I think his might be a better interpretation of what the Nativity represents. Okay, I’m pretty sure Princess Leia wasn’t there, but the people standing around Baby Jesus were far from picture perfect. They were probably a miss-matched set of players with one thing in common… they were broken and in need of this Savior.
Just like those humble shepherds, we all have been invited to the manger. Each Christmas we are reminded that Jesus doesn’t expect us to arrive at His side, puffed up with our own importance or self righteousness. Instead He desires for us to come to His cradle, humbly, like the shepherds–with all our imperfections. He is OUR GIFT, from the Father.
Lisa Strnad is an independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women’s groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville.