When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. Luke 2:15-16
"Come and drive through our congregation's living Nativity."
That was one congregation's invitation to its members and guests. It was an invitation which Pam and I accepted. We were pleasantly surprised to see the church had put on a series of scenes from the Savior's birth. Congregation members held their poses as we were able to see Gabriel make his announcement to Mary, watch the couple being turned down for a room in the inn, and stand in awe as a heavenly host made a proclamation to the shepherds. The final scene showed both shepherds and magi offering their gifts and praise to the newborn King.
From the number of cars that were ahead of and behind us, it would appear that people were being most supportive of this wonderful witness, this living Nativity.
Of course, not all Nativities turn out the way the sponsoring congregation expects.
For example, there is a church in Yorkshire, England, that set up its Nativity. When an inebriated motorist crashed his MINI Cooper into a barrier, he tried to avoid arrest by the police. Looking for a place to hide, the man decided he would seek refuge in the congregation's manger scene. It didn't take long for the officers to distinguish his dress from the robes and sandals of the statues.
Then there was the janitor in New York City who thought he heard a baby crying. Listening carefully, the man found himself standing before the church's Nativity scene. There, placed in the manger he found a real, newborn baby ... a little boy with its umbilical cord still attached. As far as I know, the police are still looking for the parents of the child.
When I first read those stories, I shook my head in unbelief at people who would use a Nativity this way. It was discouraging and dangerous.
And then ... and then I had some second thoughts.
I started to wonder how wonderful it would be if every sinner, like that drunk, came to Jesus for assistance. How blessed it would be if all of us took our troubles to the Christ who was born, lived, suffered, died and rose so our lives might be changed.
I asked, wouldn't it be a grand thing if every parent brought their children to Jesus? How much more blessed would be our homes and our families if every little boy and girl knew the Savior who gave His life so they would be forgiven of their sins and granted eternal life?
All of these musings led me to wonder: wouldn't it be fantastic if all of us were part of a living Nativity which gave a grand witness to the wonders of Christ our Lord?
Well, why not?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may my life be a witness to the Christ of the manger, the Savior of the cross, the Redeemer of the empty tomb. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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