Whether we are ready for it or not, the Christmas season is officially here.
While this Christmas may look vastly different than those in years past, one thing remains steadfast: we are celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Among the decorated Christmas trees, Santas, and snowmen, we see nativity sets to remind us of the real reason why we celebrate the Christmas season.
Take a look around your house. How many different nativity sets do you have?
We have a total of six!
How the Nativity Scene Came to Be
In 1223, Saint Francis of Assisi created the first nativity scene in central Italy. By creating a nativity scene with people and animals, St. Francis wanted Christmas’s true focus to return to Christ and not the secular, materialistic day it was becoming. Even in 1223, people lost focus on the real reason for the season!
Throughout the years, the live nativity gradually eased into statues, and eventually, a smaller scene moved into homes.
You can find the Nativity scene at just about any store, in any form. From Precious Moments to Veggie Tales to Willow Tree, these simple to elaborate sets bring hope and joy to those who need it most.
Memories of Christmas Past
Last year, my son Grant and I went to one of the local churches that hosted a show highlighting the different Nativity scenes created throughout the years. In awe of the sets before us, one caught my eye and took my breath away.
I knew exactly when this set was made, and I even knew how it was made. Back in the ’70s, ceramic painting was the “in” thing. Every week, my mom and aunts would head to ceramics for a night away from their kids. Our house was filled with ceramics that my mom had painted, including the nativity set in front of me that memory-filled day.
I immediately texted my dad and asked if he knew where it was at; he replied, “We still have it. It’s in the TV cabinet.”
Thank you, Jesus!
It was one of the first things I took out of my dad’s house after he passed away.
After a thorough cleaning, the nativity scene now sits in our entryway, in the stable that my dad custom-built for it.
As I unpacked each piece, memories of my childhood came flooding back.
Each Christmas, we would set this scene up underneath our tree. From the three kings to Mary in pink and Joseph in blue; the hope of Christmas was ever-present in our home. One specific piece to this set puzzled me back then, and it still does in 2020.
Where in the world does this guy fit in?
He is not a shepherd.
My family and I think he either looks like a hobbit or a 70’s musician.
I’ve Googled information about this set, and for each photo that comes up, this guy is in it.
He was meant to be part of this set, yet he is just so out of place.
We can feel like this at times, out of place in the presence of our Savior.
A Savior for All of Us
There are times when I blow it. I really lose it and say words that I don’t mean.
My patience runs thin with my boys, my husband gets on my last nerves, and someone cuts in front of me on the way to work. Words spew from my mouth before I can even process what I will say.
And yet, I write words of encouragement for others.
This is where the Savior steps in and helps us in our frail humanity. Taking the form of a human, Jesus knows what we go through.
The highs and lows of life.
The joy and the sorrow.
And yes, even the encouraging or not encouraging words that come from our mouths.
Jesus knows exactly what we go through daily.
That’s why I’ve come to the belief that the guy that is out of place in the nativity represents us. A person who has faults and sins, but most importantly, a person who is loved immensely by the Lord.
We are part of the Nativity, and Christ lives in us.
Through these next few weeks, let’s let others see that Christ lives in us. Let’s bring hope to those who need it through our words and actions.
Let’s be the light of Christ!
Available today! Download this updated Christmas resource to help you remember the “Reason for the Season!”
My name is Missy, and I love Jesus!
I am a Christ-follower, wife, mom, author, and speaker.
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