This Advent season we have been highlighting the various “players” in the Nativity story. How often have we talked about the Virgin Mary or the animals surrounding newborn Jesus but not stopped to interpret or investigate what each of those players brought to the birth story?
The Angels and Shepherds were tasked with the amazing job of announcing the birth of our Savior. I mean, wow! Can you imagine being the bearer of that news? If you’ve ever played the game Telephone you know how things can get lost in translation… no pressure!
Then there were the animals who gently and sweetly looked down at baby Jesus and “meowed” or “mooed” at his cuteness… or wait, did they? Intuitively we think that a manger should be filled with all sorts of animals but the Bible never mentions any in the story of Jesus’ birth…
The Wise Men followed on their camels to bring the infant Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh… oh wait… they didn’t arrive until Jesus was older! And there are no accounts of them riding camels…
Then the sweetest, most amazing piece of the story, Joseph and Mary. How terrified the Virgin Mary must have been to face a town full of people that couldn’t find her a place to lay her head let alone have a BABY! What mother wants to give birth anywhere other than those cozy birthing rooms in our local hospital?!
Each of these characters has an amazing and crucial part in making the story of Jesus’ birth perfectly imperfect. A baby who could have entered the world as a grown man, a King, entered the world in a manger (perhaps with the company of animals?). Imagine how humbled we would be for the Lord to choose us as unknowing participants in a story such as this.
Julie Andrews, children’s ministry director