The nativity display in our small town park featured some of the main characters in the depiction of the birth of Jesus Christ. Mary was present, Joseph stood faithfully by, the angels were ready to sing, and the three magi were on the scene—although their arrival was early.
But where was Baby Jesus? The space in front of Mary and Joseph was completely bare; not even a manger was placed before them.
In the past, there had been problems with vandals stealing the doll that had been placed in the manger. Perhaps those in charge of decorating our park had grown tired of replacing the doll and opted to present the nativity scene minus the central figure. The park was beautifully illuminated with a rainbow of colors. Much labor and time had gone into preparing the park for the Christmas season, but without the Baby Jesus, the true meaning of Christmas was missing.
Many people decorate their homes for this special time of the year. The trees may range in size from small ones placed on tabletops to large ones touching high ceilings. The decorations may be homemade while others may buy elaborate decorations and cover their trees with a bounty of twinkling lights.
Nativity scenes are brought from storage and placed on table-tops and under the decorated trees. Each piece is carefully arranged and centered around the manger with the Christ child in it.
As we carefully decorate our trees and our homes, and as we rush about buying gifts to give to our loved ones, let’s pause to prepare our hearts and lives to welcome this Gift who was given to us over 2,000 years ago.
Stop and ponder the words of John 3:16. The words are so familiar we quote them without stopping to think what they actually mean. Jesus Christ was the most precious, sacrificial Gift God could give to the world.
This year as we carefully and lovingly position the manger with the baby representing God’s Gift, pause to invite that Gift into your hearts. Unlike the nativity scene in my town’s park with the missing Christ child, we don’t want to celebrate Christmas without the presence of the Baby Jesus.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and speartoons.)
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