The nativity is one of the best-known stories in history. Asked to describe the events surrounding Jesus' birth, most people could probably give the basic components of the story: An angel tells a young virgin she's going to give birth to the Saviour of the world…. Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem, but there's no room in the inn…. They find shelter in a stable where Jesus is born…. Angels announce the good news to a bunch of shepherds, who run to see the baby Jesus…. Some wise men come along later to pay their respects and leave some gifts.
That's the nativity story in a nutshell. But the truth is, the nativity is a massive and earth-shattering event, featuring characters both visible and invisible. It's so grand and so powerful that any attempt to portray it—whether a church play or a Hollywood blockbuster—fails to express what it meant for God to relate to His human creation the way He did.
The greatest human writer could never invent such a wondrous story. It came to us directly from the mind of God, who through the nativity announced several truths to the world:
- The weak will be made strong;
- The lowly will be exalted;
- The poor in spirit will become spiritually rich;
- Those who mourn will be comforted;
- Those who are meek will inherit the earth; and
- Those who desire a truly good life will find it.
And it's all because Jesus came to the world on that first Christmas.
This is the heart of the nativity. It's a mystery revealed by God, centered in Christ, put into effect when the time was right. It's not a story to watch like an audience watches a play—we can actually join in ourselves, with the opportunity to participate in all that the story means. God didn't write the story for just anyone. When it's all said and done, He did it for you.
—From God is in the Small Stuff at Christmas. Copyright (c) Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz. Published by Barbour Publishing, Uhrichsville, Ohio.