Last year, when my granddaughter was three, I bought a soft plastic nativity set and put it on the hearth next to the ceramic grouping we displayed each year. I wanted something child friendly so Nellie could play with it as we talked about the Christmas story. I carefully laid out the pieces with Mary and Joseph kneeling beside the manger, the shepherds out in the “fields” watching over their sheep, and the wise men traveling from the East. Two angels surveyed the scene from their perch on the stable.
I began to tell about that first Christmas. As I talked, Nellie rearranged everything. When she finished, all of the characters surrounded baby Jesus. This year, she did exactly the same thing, even though I’m sure she doesn’t remember what she did last year. Though they love the tinsel and lights and gift giving, children seem to instinctively know Who the center of Christmas is.
Jesus was indeed the center of that first Christmas. The shepherds knew it, and so did the Magi. One day, the baby would grow to be a man, and He would find himself at the center of adoring crowds who marveled at His miracles. But many in those crowds would turn on Him and hang Him on a cross, the center cross between two thieves.
Thank goodness what started in the manger didn’t end at the cross. When we trust Jesus as Savior, He rearranges our thoughts, actions, and priorities, just as Nellie rearranged the nativity pieces. Then Jesus becomes the center of our lives. We can rejoice that the baby who was born more than 2000 years ago is still at work today, forgiving our sin and transforming us into new creatures.
Have you put Jesus at the center of your life? If not, there’s no better time than now to remember the Christ child who was born to bear our sin.
(Photo courtesy of mandmwiles.)
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