Nativity Scene                 

A Devotional Snapshot


by God's Little Boy
© 2014
Posted 12/27/14


"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:8-14)


For the last four Sundays I have been deeply moved by a simple nativity scene at church. It consisted of only four large size figures, which to my perception conveys great meaning. The display has the newborn Jesus in a manger surrounded by Mary, Joseph and an angel. It is arranged so that Jesus is the center of attention. Mary and Joseph are looking to him in wonder, and behind them and a bit higher the angel is looking upon Jesus in wonder with his hands in his bosom. This scene reveals the glory of the incarnation. What an awesome wonder of God this great undertaking was and is. Think of it; God became a man! God became one of us and came to dwell with us. And he will be with us as a man forevermore. This was the first part of his mission to save us from our sins. "you shall call his name Jesus" - Yahweh is salvation.

I noticed that the figures of Mary and Joseph were set back a bit from Jesus. This made me think of the fact that this mission of redeeming mankind was the work of God alone. Though Mary and Joseph were part of the plan, it was God alone who was at work while mankind was unaware of what was really happening. This was the beginning of something that would only be realized in hindsight and received as a free gift. "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8b) While the world slept and while mankind pined in sin and error, God was faithfully at work in his plan of salvation.

The angel marveling at this wonder made me think of how the angels desire to look into the grace and salvation of God toward sinners. (1 Peter 1:12) The Angels had never before seen the actual outworking of grace in this manner before. To see the supreme God of eternal holiness take upon himself the form of lowly flesh was a spectacle that taught them more than words alone could ever do. The angels rejoiced to see the wisdom and glory and grace of God - grace, that was for the first time demonstrated in all of its vivid living colors. They became intimately acquainted with this formerly unknown attribute of God in extravagant detail. Even these holy angels would now see God more clearly and know him more completely. The exceeding goodness of his true nature was now being fully revealed in his kindness toward us.

This nativity scene had Jesus as the central focus of men and angels. This is the glory of our Christmas celebration, beholding the unspeakable gift of Jesus, the God of Grace, who was given for us and is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)





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