Have you ever seen a live nativity? Instead of plastic figures of shepherds and wise men, a live nativity scene has actors in costume, and for an hour or two each evening you can drive by and see them. The shepherds bow and worship, the magi present their gifts, perhaps Mary rocks her baby in her arms, or else Mary and Joseph simply admire him. It’s unlikely, even at a live nativity, that they have an actual newborn present. The “baby Jesus” might be a toddler, or even an infant, but you wouldn’t want to keep a real baby out in the cold for very long. Even a live nativity scene will often use a doll, or even just pretend there is a babe wrapped up in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger.
Contrast that scene with the night Jesus was born.
Yeah, it’s Monday. But look on the bright side, it’s the first Monday in December. Also the first week of Advent. And if you’re SBC, this is the week of prayer for International Missions. Most of us will get some kind of break in another couple of weeks, and this is truly the most wonderful time of year. Continue reading →
When the wise men came from the east seeking Jesus, they went to Jerusalem. They were looking for a newborn king, so they naturally went to the palace located in the capital city. King Herod knew nothing of a king being born, because the birth of Jesus was not one fit for a king. Continue reading →
Here are a few articles on Christmas from years past that might be worth another look:
Rethinking the Angelic Choir examines the words of scripture carefully and challenges our notion of the angels that announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. The first thing angels always say when they appear in full glory to human beings is “Do not be afraid.” If they were beautiful women in choir robes, why would people tremble in fear?
Santa Claus Has Not Sold Out suggests that Santa has not become commercialized, but rather our American image of Santa is the product of commercialism. He wears a red and white suit because of those early 20th century Coca-Cola ads, and comes down the chimney because of department store Santas standing on the roof.
Christmas Card Theology is from last year, and begs the question what do we learn from the pictures on the Christmas cards we send? There are several things besides the fact that angels are beautiful women with long blonde hair.
All of the posts for Christmas and Advent are listed under the tag in the categories list, but these are a few of my favorites.
What if everything we knew about Christmas came from studying the pictures on our Christmas cards? Even if you never pick up a Bible, there’s a lot to learn from the cards we send around each year. Here’s a list of some that I’ve noticed:
Mary and Jesus are both white. I’ve even seen Jesus with red hair, and lots of it. Way too much for a newborn.
Angels are beautiful women. They basically look like super models in choir robes. OR
Angels are 6 year old children. They’re cute, and plump, and sometimes play musical instruments.
There were 3 wise men. There were exactly 3 wise men, no more, no less. Two of them were white, one was black. AND THEY WERE AT THE MANGER.
The manger was in a shelter made of wood with a straw roof. There were no other buildings of any sort for several miles in any direction.
These are a few of the things we learn when we get our theology from Christmas card images. Assuming of course that your cards have anything about Jesus on them at all. I’m going to leave it at this. Check out the first couple chapters of Matthew and Luke before asking stupid any questions.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise menfrom the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it roseand have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2
Take a good look at this nativity scene. Study it for a moment. It should look similar to every other nativity you’ve ever seen before. Jesus is lying in a manger filled with hay; the major characters are in or around a stable of some sort; the star would be shining above; the shepherds came from the field, where they had been watching their flocks; and the 3 wise men came bringing gifts. It’s a nice picture, and we think “That seems about right.” But it’s not. One of the things on my list, according to scripture at least, doesn’t belong. Continue reading →