More Precious Than a Nativity Set

More Precious Than a Nativity Set

The characters of the Nativity have a bit of a different look for me this year.

It is easy to set up our favorite nativity set every year, maybe take time to ponder the different roles each had in this scenario, and then leave it on the mantel until January, when it goes back into its box without much thought. At our home, we have several Nativity sets - all with different sentimental value.

There's the white glazed set I remember staring at for hours under my grandparent's Christmas tree. Oh, the way the Christmas tree lights would reflect off of each piece, almost giving them a sparkling halo. So royal looking all the pieces were as they stood there watching the baby Jesus.

Then there's the set my children were given when they were small. Everyone had an almost angelic face - even the donkey! How many times my children would rearrange the characters, or even act out the story, each in their own way and not without conflict as to where the baby Jesus should actually lay. Although the sheep is missing a leg, the donkey an ear, and Joseph his staff, it is still a precious reminder of days gone by.

And finally, there is a rough and ruddy set that was found in a box several years ago. No one really knows where it came from. No angelic faces or sparking halos, just a little box with a baby, his parents, and a few animals. No warm, cozy feelings, and on first glance, not very appealing. Probably more true to life though, with a feeling of familiarity and reality. This brings me back to my first comment.

Mary was a young girl, probably a teenager, who although the Lord had chosen her to carry His Son, still faced societal scorn and uncertainty.

Joseph, an upright man who loved Mary, found himself in a challenging dilemma.

The shepherds, socially the lowest of the low, often overlooked, who spent their lives-in their eyes-with no great purpose or plan.

The wise men spent days, years, in search of something or someone. Although apparently men of great wealth, they continued to seek out the promised One who would fulfill their journey.

These are the faces of the Christmas story. Similar to the faces we interact with every day at the center.

A teen who feels they have no purpose or worth. They don't come to our events to knowingly find it, many don't know that God has a plan and purpose for their life. For some, God is irrelevant. But still they come.

A young man or woman who has been left to "figure it out." Maybe needing someone to walk through a challenging dilemma with them.

Those who look different or deal with the labeling and judgement of society. They are hurt and angry. They are on a mission to find what will fulfill their journey.

A student who seems to have it "all together," and yet needs the peace of knowing the One who will bring purpose to it all.

Whether an athlete or a pregnant teen. Whether an accomplished artist or a struggling student. No matter what path they are on, they are all seeking to find the answers that come only from the One who came for all and who gave His all.

And even more than the gifts from the wise men and the nativity set on my table, they are precious to Him.

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