I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people…
My husband and I have a small collection of nativity scenes from around the world. What I love about them is how freely artisans depict the manger scene as if it took place in their country, with Mary and Joseph, the angels, shepherds and wise men looking just like them. Similarly, whenever we reenact the Christmas story in church–a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages–we place ourselves into the story. All the biblical characters look like us.
The spiritual message is clear even for the youngest child: we place ourselves in Jesus’ story because he first places himself in ours. In Jesus, God enters the story of humankind, bringing good news of great joy for all people. In Jesus, God enters your story and mine. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us.
We all approach Christmas with different feelings. The world doesn’t stop for Christmas, as much as we wish it would. Yet we all make whatever room we can. “The world Christ comes to save,” preached Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was martyred for his resistance to Nazism, “is our fallen and lost world. No other.”
Everywhere I go, I see people like you making an extra effort so that others might experience something of God’s love–through beautiful worship, festive celebrations, thoughtful gift-giving, and sacrificial generosity. I see you taking your place in Jesus’ story, showing up, as Jesus does, where love is needed. Thank you. You are my inspiration as I strive to do the same.
This Christmas may you experience the gift of God coming to you, in your story, wherever you need love most.