(Photo by Selma Komisky)
A Child is Born; Living the Nativity
By Keni Kirkwood
I have a love for Christmas so great that a simple month or two out of the year can’t contain it. In fact, I buy decorations over the summer before the good stuff sells out, and I plan gifts months in advance. With all the movies, treats, elves and merry miscellany, the world just sparkles in December. Of course, all of that glitter is just “extra.” It’s all added to the true celebration: the birth of Jesus.
So what if I told you the nativity can be as much fun to celebrate as all of the movies, cookies, and shopping? For quite honestly, it’s become my favorite part of the season (And that’s saying a lot. I admit, I get pretty hyped about presents).
It all begins when we stop seeing it as a competition between the holy and the fun, and we realize that the reason we get to celebrate at all is because of Jesus. In Isaiah 9:6, the Bible says,
“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (NIV)
That’s it. The simple, profound reason we have Christmas. It’s the birth of a child, a child who would grow up to be our Savior; to die so we could see redemption, and who rose from death to make that redemption eternal. All of that glory came from one humble event. The King of heaven and earth was born in a stable. So, in celebration of all we’ve been given in Heaven, we can celebrate with all we have on earth.
Seeing what a spectacular thing the nativity is, doesn’t it feel a little bit more excitement worthy? No hate on elves or gingerbread here, but how can we bring the True Christmas Star into the center ring of our festivities? Glad you asked. It just so happens that last December I made it my mission to honor Jesus and his story in a number of creative ways.
I made a list of projects, from making a craft to writing a poem, and any art I could think of in between. From there, the most amazing thing happened. As I danced in worship, wrote in my journal, and read the Gospels, the story came alive. It was amazing because I’ve grown up knowing about Jesus as long as I can remember, but last year, I actually got teary over what He’s done. That hadn’t happened before. It was like I went on a journey through my projects, but I didn’t have to go anywhere. I just had to invite Jesus to join me right where I was.
This year, Christmas will probably look different for a lot of us, but even at home, we can feel the real magic of the season. Just invite Him in. Ask yourself how you can celebrate Jesus and His story this advent. Your projects don’t have to be all arts like mine; there are lots of ways to praise God in what we do. Think about what your family could do. You could spend some extra time in the Gospels, bake a birthday cake for Jesus, watch nativity movies, or even feature baby Jesus on your Christmas cards this year so you can share the Good News with your neighbors.
When it comes to spreading and reveling in holy joy, the possibilities are endless. We have all of this glory to share all because of one simple thing: “Unto us, a child is born.” Let’s not just tell The Story this year. Let’s experience it.