“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”Luke 2:7
Christmas is my favorite time of the year! I love the colder weather, sipping hot chocolate, and sitting by the fireplace where stockings for each of our family members hang. Watching Christmas movies, shopping for the perfect gift for each family member and friend, wrapping presents, singing Christmas songs, and enjoying all the wonderful recipes that are saved for this time of year…each of these add to the joy of the season.
Yet in this mixture of tradition and commercialization surrounding the holidays, we know the reason for celebration. It’s not a manger scene with snow, singing angels, and a little drummer boy. We celebrate the truth of the Bible. We celebrate God’s greatest gift to humanity. The baby in the manger is God, Emmanuel, and we cannot know Jesus if we do not understand that He is real.
In teaching children biblical truth, it is imperative that we separate the real and true from fantasy. We want children to understand that the Bible is a very special book. Everything we read in the Bible is real and true. This is the reason we never mix the two. At Christmastime, we see a variety of depictions with the nativity. You may have seen one picture where Santa is kneeling at the manger. Although this may evoke a sense of the picture of Christmas to some, it is not the message we want to communicate. It is not biblical.
Each year at our church we use a live nativity with children to share the message of Jesus’ birth. One year as the children were walking through the live nativity, four-year-old Andrew walked by Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. As he passed Mary, he paused, walked back and tapped Mary on the shoulder. Leaning over the manger towards Mary, Andrew whispered, “Mary, I love your baby.” My heart jumped as I heard this precious response. He loves this baby – Jesus.
What is Christmas to you? Is it filled with a commercialized Santa, stockings, and eating a wonderful meal together with friends and family? Do you personally know and love God, Emmanuel? Our Savior—fully God and fully man—was born of a virgin for the purpose of giving His life as a sacrifice for our sins. As you see a representation of the nativity this year, remember, it’s the gospel, the original account of Christmas directly from the Word of God.
We can celebrate the one depicted in the manger. As Isaiah 9:6 says,“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful. Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”