Revised Christmas Story

WORDS FROM W.W. December 18, 2011

Our church has about five nativity sets. They are arranged in different parts of the building- sanctuary, foyer, outside the main office, counter tops. The sets come in different sizes, and made of different materials. But there’s one thing about being a church that uses things once a year and then puts them away in storage, and besides that, being a church made up of people that are abundantly present for the “Hanging of the Greens” Christmas decorating night (Side note: Many years ago when I was an associate pastor, we had a family in our church whose last name was Green. For some reason they never showed up for “Hanging of the Greens” night! Go figure!), conveniently absent when we take down the Christmas decorations.
Things get misplaced! Things come up missing! It could be that certain items get put in with Easter items. It may be that this coming April when I open a box that I think contains a thorn of crowns for Good Friday that there may be a wise man crammed into the bottom of the box.
Anyway…things get misplaced, and then Christmas season I’ve discovered that a couple of our Nativity sets have taken on different looks. If taken at first glance they could easily be used to revise the Christmas story.
For example, one of the sets has two sets of Magi twins. Who would have thought that the Magi traveled in identical pairs? And it’s funny…each of the twins brings the same gift. There are two with myrrh, and two with frankincense. It could have been that there was a two-for-one sale in Jerusalem!
Think of the story line for next year’s Children’s Christmas program…”Lee and Leroy, the Magi Twins.”
Another one of our sets lost Mary! If people look closely they might think that Joseph is a single parent. Mary has disappeared. All the other participants are there…shepherds, wise men, sheep, cows, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. There’s even an angel to somehow try to attach to the wall or the lamp shade above the nativity set, but no Mary.
Think how people might communicate the story from what they see if they didn’t know what they weren’t seeing.
Of course, that’s the subtle point I’m trying to make about the Christmas story. If we don’t know the story, it can easily be changed to something that it isn’t.
“Revisionists” is a term that is used more and more these days. As followers of Jesus we want the truth to be spoken. Sometimes the truth gets revised by people with sly looks on their faces, and we believe it, because we aren’t that grounded in what is “the Truth.” Even though something is missing we sometimes are blind to what it is.
My prayer for you is that you would know the Truth…and also what isn’t…and that the Truth would set you free.

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