I hope you all had a great New Year holiday! To recap our December sermon series, here is what each thing or character from the nativity scene can teach us for faith today. As you can see, this common Christmas tradition has a lot of deeper meaning…
Follow the example of Jospeh. Even when God’s calling goes against common sense or makes you uncomfortable. You have to remember to actually listen to God. He might be leading you to do something that seems out of the ordinary, like he did with Joseph committing himself to serving Mary.
And the second thing Joseph teaches us has to do with fatherhood. Joseph loved Jesus like his own child. He trained him up and taught him. He didn’t abandon him. Instead of sending Mary and Jesus away, he stuck around. We need a lot more fathers like Joseph in our world today–fathers who follow the example of God, our heavenly parent and father.
Mary teaches us that God is calling each one of us to abandon the rat race of life, of worshipping power, and wishing we had all the shallow pleasures we often cling to. God calls us to encounter him in humility. God sends the rich away empty. For the prideful don’t feel like they need salvation in the first place.
And Mary teaches us that God is calling you specifically. God has a plan for you. He’s speaking your name. Are you going to answer when you hear that voice? Will you say “yes” to God, just like Mary did?
3. A Simple Manger
God uses everyday things for his salvation plan. Mangers weren’t some glamorous objects like we think of them today. They were literally feeding troughs used for animals. Yet God used this common thing to give us the newborn Jesus Christ. God is working through all things to redeem and make things new.
The shepherds were the kinds of people who were patiently waiting for a savior. The bible itself is filled with stories about faithful waiting–waiting for God’s salvation to come to fruition. In the birth narratives, some of the the shepherds might have even given up hope. But they ultimately listened to the message of the angels that the Messiah had finally come. The shepherds teach us that waiting on God’s promises is worth it. Pay attention to the world around you, or else you might miss a message from God!
5. The Three Wisemen
These magi saw that God is at work all over the world. Even though they arguably had no connection to Judaism or the Old Testament, they still experienced God’s revelation. God’s revelation isn’t limited to places of worship like churches. God is working to reveal Godself to all peoples. So when you encounter people who aren’t Christian or who might be lukewarm in their faith, point out those areas of God’s love they’ve experienced but haven’t realized it. God is protecting, guiding, and loving them before they even realize it.