Live nativity dramas fill the Christmas season. I love them. I love the warmth, the holy joy and the reminder of who this is all about. And I know that I am not the only one who feels that way. I close my eyes now and say a quick prayer. Jesus fills my heart and my mind. At this very moment I can imagine Him actually enter with a crowd at an outdoor nativity play. Come, imagine with me…
He did it with no fanfare at all. Truth be told, the big fanfare to come…ah, that special coming will reveal itself another time and the whole world will see Him. But tonight, well tonight Jesus looks just like you or me. I refocus on the nativity scene and see Him inhale this offering. The celebration that began in the heavens well over 2000 years ago continues still in the hustle and bustle of this night. How it pleases Him. It is His private gift to be with His children as they remember Him. Watch Him with me…
A sweet ache pierced His heart as He caught the arm of an old man who stumbled as he tried to calm the nativity animals. Jesus gave the man a quick hug and walked to the side of the seating area. He leaned against a tent post to watch everything. He didn’t want to miss anything at all. He chuckled at the children’s squeals and antics waiting for the drama to start. Two pre-school kings ran into His legs and made everyone laugh as they continued to barrel through the crowd – determined to play, at the play!
Jesus enjoyed the twinkling lights, the costumes, the music, and the Star of Bethlehem high above the wooden stable. He loved it all – and He loved them. Jesus walked up the aisle and shook hands, hugged those around Him, and greeted everyone like His family. No one knew anything was different tonight. Old people, young people, married people, single people, church people and passersby stopped and entered the tent looking for a place to sit. Everyone was eager to watch the drama unfold. After all, everyone wanted a reminder in this busy season of what it was really all about. Christmas is so hectic, so media driven, and so commercial.
Suddenly Jesus turned and headed to the far edge of the tent where a woman was sitting by herself. Her head was lowered so her hair shielded her face. He came around the row and sat beside her. No one else saw the tear overflow as she closed her eyes, but Jesus did. He quickly reached out and caught it as it rolled off her check. He also saw the bruises she hid underneath her makeup and the wedding ring lying in the bottom of her purse. Quietly He breathed a command to His angels concerning her, to guard her in all her ways. How He loved meeting them at the place of their need. Then He stood and walked outside.
Behind Him the lights dimmed and the drama began. It was time for Him to go, but He wanted to visit the extra animals not needed for the play first. He knelt down to hold them. He grinned as they all tried to get to Him. He noticed a little lamb behind the others and stepped through the herd to pick it up. About that time He heard the angels in the play proclaim His birth. He walked to the edge of the stable door and watched as His children honored Him by laying baby Jesus in the manger.
He felt His heart sing a song that only He knew. He shifted the lamb to His left hand and raised His right hand to run it across the top of the door frame. He wanted the world to get it. He wanted them to see that tonight wasn’t really about Him, it was for them. Christmas was simply the beginning of Easter. And it was all so that He could be with them always. As Jesus turned to walk away, He glanced back at the blood that only He could see wiped across the top of the door frame. With a smile He leaned down and whispered to the little lamb that He held, “I was born to be you little one. I AM the last sacrifice.”
He put the lamb down, glanced up and was gone. There on the ground by the lamb was a gift tied with a large red bow. On the gift tag it read – All my love, Jesus.
From me to you this Christmas season, open and receive all your gifts with love. Especially the one that Jesus gave you.
Patti Corbello Archer
December 13, 2015