Every Christmas I can remember, a Nativity set has been displayed. First, it started with my Grandma and then continued until I bought my very own set when I moved into my own place as an adult. The Nativity was a reminder of the Christmas Story which has been told each year of my entire life.
However, as I have gotten older, the Nativity has taken on a deeper meaning. Each piece of that Nativity Scene is representative of a profound truth that surrounds the birth of God's Son, Jesus Christ. It's just not about a baby born in a stable, surrounded by shepherds and animals with his mom and dad on each side of a makeshift baby crib.
I am hoping that throughout this month I can share with you some of the meanings that are often lost as we go through the motions of placing the Nativity Scene on display. Maybe you will look more extensively at each piece and thank our Heavenly Father for including each of us in that humble event that took place thousands of years ago.
Let's begin today with defining the word Nativity and discovering, by using an online dictionary, what the nativity represents. First, the definition of Nativity; "the birth of Jesus Christ" and/or "a picture, craving, or model representing Jesus Christ's birth."
What does the Nativity represent? "...for many Christians throughout the world, no matter the characters, the sight of a nativity still evokes the miracle of Jesus' conception, his humble birth, his ultimate sacrifice and the gift of everlasting life to those who believe. The true meaning of Christmas." (The words in bold print were emphasized by the dictionary.)
There is another question brought forth within the context of the online explanations. "Why is the Nativity so important?" And the answer is plainly and simply stated, "Christmas is important to many Christians because it reminds them that: Jesus, the Son of God, came to Earth for all people, symbolized through the visits of the wise men and the shepherds. Mary and Joseph both had a strong faith in God, despite the difficulties they faced." (Again, bold emphases is from the reference.)
I would ask as we move forward with these devotional thoughts, you reflect on your reasoning as to why a nativity scene is important during this season. Have you inadvertently begun to exhibit the Nativity as part of your yearly Christmas decor? Let's start anew today with the second chapter of Luke (NIV), verses 2-7 and begin to investigate a little closer the meaning of those pieces of our Nativity scenes.
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 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. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to live in a free society where we can display our Nativity scenes and worship the One, True God. Thank you for Jesus and this time of year when we can celebrate his birth in our homes, our hearts and our lives. Help us to reflect on our own yearly birthday parties and those of the ones we love so dearly and to realize Jesus deserves the same celebration each year! In His Name, Amen!
Judith "Cookie" White is the founder of The Sounding Board Ministry. She is the author of two devotional books which are available on this site.