Who’s Coming for Christmas?
Many families include a nativity set as part of their Christmas decorations. My wife has collected many variations and loves having them about. Of all our decorations, the crèche is likely the most visually specific storyteller in the house.
So, what is communicated by the arrangement of this annually repeated farmyard scene? Mary, Joseph, and Jesus are certainly the centerpieces. Animals of various kinds are scattered around. Magi and “the” star are often included, even though they didn’t appear in the sky and arrive in Israel for months or even a couple of years later (Mt 2:1-15). Maybe we should put them in another room, or on a table across the room travelling towards Bethlehem? Angels appeared outside of the town to the shepherds, and are never said to be at the manger location (Lk 2:8-15). Maybe we should acquire multiple shepherds, then show some with the family at the manger, and others hearing from the angels on the other side of the room? (I know…now we have split up the set into THREE locations!)
While this may be silly nitpicking, why not take advantage of the storytelling opportunity by highlighting some of the unusual details? It may be fun and eye-catching for those who come around for Christmas to notice who came for the first Christmas.
Mark Hill, pastor