Peace family, one of the things that I love about Christmas, is the prevalence of nativity scenes. Although they all might look different, they carry the same beautiful message of encouragement.
I’ve seen the Holy Family imagined as all kinds of people: dark-skinned, blonde, Andean (complete with llamas in the stable), and even Thai. Growing up, my family had several South American nativities, and as my family was a fairly agricultural family, our main nativity included all kinds of animals (as collected by my mother) gathered around the Holy Family in the stable. Charming though it may be, I have my doubts that those animals were present at the actual birth of Christ; for example, ours is the only creche I’ve ever seen in which the shepherds have a Collie dog, or ducks and chickens by the manger, a barn owl in the rafters, and a large, red bullock (Limousine breed?) in the back. Ours also included the Magi, who actually probably were not simply three kings, and who actually probably did not arrive to give their gifts to Jesus until he was about two years old.
I know that political correctness has become a huge deal in the last ten years or more, but there’s something so beautiful about these creche scenes, even if they aren’t historically accurate.
The beauty of Christmas is this: God so loved the world, that he sent his son in the form of human flesh to make his dwelling among us, that we might see his glory. Was Jesus born in Israel, to Jewish parents, who likely were olive-skinned with dark hair? Yes. Is that the most important thing about a nativity scene? Absolutely not!
The beauty is that Jesus came for all of us, all people, of every nation. We often hear the name, “Emmanuel,” at this time of year, and it literally means, “God with us.”
No matter what Jesus looked like, he had eyes and ears to see and hear the suffering and needy, two hands to feed the hungry and heal the sick, and two legs to travel to those he loved, and climb the hill to the cross. He had lips to share the good news of God’s forgiveness and redemption for us, a temper that could be ignited in the face of injustice, and a heart that could be broken over our ignorance and shame. Like us, he hungered, thirsted, loved, laughed, bled and cried.
Peace family, one of my favorite Christmas songs is “Some Children See Him,” by James Taylor, and that’s what I think of when I see these culturally diverse nativity scenes; you can find a link to listen to it, here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s49gEmTlOTk&app=desktop
I hope it will encourage you!
When you see a nativity scene, no matter how simple or elaborate, let it bring joy to your heart. Remember that God embraces us, and we can embrace him, too.