Mary and Joseph.
The three Wise men.
Animals. Especially a donkey.
And baby Jesus.
These are the main characters.
The setting is a manger in Bethlehem.
Key lines: “Fear not, I bring good news that will bring great joy to all people.” “You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” –Luke 2
All of these appear at Christmas time in church pageants, on Christmas cards, in Nativity scenes. In snow globes and ornaments. In children’s books.
All are great reminders and symbols of the story of Jesus’s birth. But it’s easy to think of it as just that- just a story. But we need to remember it was real. It is real.
It’s easy to think of them as characters. But Mary was a real girl, likely younger than most people reading this. She was probably stressed- travelling pregnant, having no place to stay. Giving birth in a stable. And Joseph- wondering whether to believe the angel, to trust his soon-to-be wife. Maybe he felt a little ashamed that He couldn’t find a place for his pregnant fiancé to stay. I know a lot of young men today might feel that way… The hay was probably itchy. The animals may have been a little stinky. Do you think the innkeeper was glad to have business or upset to have to turn the couple away? Do you think the Wise men were stressed about what gifts to pick out?
Thinking about their feelings helps me remember that they are all real. It’s not a story. It’s not just a picture. Jesus really came.
And He didn’t just come a long time ago- He comes “every minute, every hour, everyday” if you open your heart to Him.
*This post was inspired by Nichole Nordeman’s song “Real.”