For me, the story of the Nativity is deeply meaningful. As a mom and a woman, I don’t relate to very many Bible heroes.
Bible heroes are almost always male, and almost always do fantastic, out-of-this-world feats that defy the laws of nature. I have never called down pillars of fire from the sky like Elijah. I have never hidden in the belly of a whale like Jonah. I have not survived a lion’s den like Daniel. And I have certainly never fed 5,000 people with only a kid’s meal from Long John Silvers!
But one thing I have done. I was once young, newly married, and pregnant with an unexpected child! I carried a male child inside my body until it was time for him to be born. I endured rumors and scorn from outside; and fear and anxiety from within.
I felt the fear that somehow I would ruin that sweet life within me. Or that I’d threaten his wellbeing by some random, unintentional mistake.
Finally, I knew the joy holding him in my arms after hours of labor. I held him close and cried tears of joy and relief and hopefulness. I thanked God above for giving me the greatest gift of all…a sweet, baby boy of my own.
I felt like Mary who “treasured all these things in her heart.” Even though my son wasn’t THE child of promise, he still was A child of promise entrusted to my care. I also felt the weight of responsibility and care to keep the promises that his young soul held.
So, I collect nativities. I keep them out all year long. They remind me that I, too, have a place in God’s story. That even though I am not a man, I am not a prophet, nor a miracle-worker… I, like Mary, have a place in God’s kingdom. I am important, too.
I like the fact that other cultures have translated the Nativity story into their cultural narratives. “The image of God is found in Chinese men and African woman as much as it is in Middle Eastern men and American women. Jesus came for all humanity, taking human form so that all of humanity might see him as their Lord.” (Rich Little)
The fact that other cultures have expressed the Nativity story in their artwork makes me feel connected to them. The incarnation of Jesus impacts us all. We all have a place in the story of Jesus’ birth.
We can all feel like Mary. We can all find our place in the Kingdom of God.
Let’s praise God for his love of all humanity and for all culture’s hunger to see him as their Lord, too. Praise God for making his son accessible to all, including you and me.