1st Sunday of Christmas
December 24th – 25th 2020
So I have this nativity set. When I was little, my dad collected and put up Department 56 houses for a Christmas train garden – or layout as experts would say. Soon my brother , who had an averous appetite for all things train, began collecting houses. Then, my dad asked me and my sister if we would like a Christmas collection. And in every Christmas store from Valley View Farms to Christmas Spirit, Fontanini nativity pieces were being sold. As you know, I chose the nativity.
We had plenty of nativities in our family home to be sure, but this one was mine and truth be told it was quite unique. You see, the pieces created and sold by the Fontanini family were not simply the traditional pieces – the stable, the Holy Family, the shepherds, etc. They had the inn and market stalls and tents for the wise men. You could create the whole village of Bethlehem with each added piece.
This year as I put up my nativity with all the pieces, it occurred to me why I love this set so much. Sure, it was pretty cool as a middle schooler to have such a complex creche scene. But now, I see why that complexity mattered. As I look at my cabinet full of wine makers and blacksmiths and bakeries and merchants, I see all those people who weren’t written about in the Nativity story but were connected to it. I see us. All of us.
There were people who were completely unaware of the Christ Child. Others who saw and simply passed Him by. There were those who noticed and offered help to Him or His parents. And then there were those people who chose to step in and became forever entwined with the Nativity story itself. These categories fit for every person whether they lived 2,000 years ago or are living now.
Because that is the beauty of the Nativity Story. It has not ended. It goes on bringing each of us into the story of Christ. The question is not whether we will join the story, we are all already a part of it. The question left for us to decide is what we will choose to do within the story. Will we ignore the coming of the Messiah as if nothing happened? Or will we allow this good news to change us – even in the smallest way. After all, God takes the smallest things and makes them extraordinary.
As we look at the nativities we see around us this year, don’t imagine yourself as a wise man or shepherd or Mary or Joseph. You are a part of the Nativity story. You get to live it out every day. So tell God’s story by the story of your lives.
And have a Merry and Blessed Christmas!
– Erin Perkins