What Do You See in the Nativity Scene?
Note: This blog is a sermon excerpt from “He Came... The Word Became Flesh.” You can stream the audio of the sermon or find the full manuscript HERE.
What Do You See?
What imagery pops into your head when you think of Christmas? Is it the nativity scene? I think it is for many, if not most Christians. The nativity scene is beautiful on many levels, isn’t it? It produces such a peaceful and happy sight, as we behold the sweet baby boy in a manger, with a glowing mother and proud father, onlooking shepherds, amidst farm animals in a barn. This is a sweet image and is good for many reasons, but don’t let the tranquility of that picture lull you into forgetting what you are really looking at. That sweet, innocent baby in the manager is no ordinary child, it is the Word become flesh (John 1:1-5), it is God become man, it is God the Son on a rescue mission!
- Don’t let His recent birth fool you; He is the eternal God who does not have a starting point. He may have that new, soft baby skin, but the Spirit within Him is eternal and has always been!
- Don’t let this baby’s lack of ability to talk or communicate in any significant way cause you to forget that He is God’s Ultimate Self-Disclosure. God was and is revealing who He is through this little baby more clearly than through any other avenue in all of history! He is the powerful self-revelation of God, the Word!
- Don’t allow the helpless state of this baby cause you to forget that He spoke all matter into being! He may not be strong enough to hold up His head in that manger, but He is the Creator of all things, from atoms to galaxies!
- Don’t allow His baby cries for hunger or coos for attention distract you from the fact that only He can save you from your sin! He is the promised Savior!
I share all of this to say, Christmas is about God doing the radical, the unthinkable, and we have a tendency to tame it down with sweet nativity scenes. This peaceful scene often lulls us into forgetting the radical nature of what has taken place on that first Christmas morning.
Seeing Beyond the Surface
Don’t get me wrong, I love nativity scenes, but we don’t want to lose sight of the infinitely profound act that has taken place here, right? God became man! The power that lies in that feeding trough is beyond words. The age and wisdom that coos up at mom is beyond measure. Don’t let this powerful reality escape your vision of Christmas, let it be the lens you see Christmas through. On Christmas God did something radical, for the glory of His name and for the good of His people, He Came!
If we are going to begin to feel the full weight of Christmas, we need to see beyond the surface of that sweet baby in the manger to the all-powerful, eternal God who lies in the manger meekly. This is the power of Christmas!
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