Scripture: Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:26-38
How many of us have a nativity scene set up in the living room or on the mantle of the fireplace. Ours is on a radiator cover in the Dining Room. What is a nativity? And what does that word even mean?
Our word nativity comes from the Latin word nativitas which means “birth.” In Ireland they called a nativity “The Creche.” And when we took Will to church, the nursery was also called the Creche. The nativity scene that we set out each year is a depiction of the birth of the God of the universe into the world. Surrounded by his mother Mary and earthly father Joseph, barnyard animals, shepherds, and angels. All eyes of the nativity are fixed on the baby Jesus because it is all about His birth. We have a beautiful life-sized nativity out on the front lawn of the church reminding everyone who drives by of the meaning of Christmas.
1: We Prepare for the Birth of Something New
2: When God Shows Up, Our Lives Are Disrupted
3: We All Have New-Birth Excuses
4: When We Submit to God, His Promises Can Be Fulfilled in and Through Us
“If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; if our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; if our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; if our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer; but our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.”
– Max Lucado
The world’s greatest need was forgiveness of our sin. Only the love and grace of God through Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and peace with God. So, Mary was willing to take on the disruption that giving birth to the Savior of the world would require. And Jesus was willing to give up his own life to die on the cross and pay for our sins. That is the ultimate picture of selfless love.
Here is another question: If this is the attitude we choose this Christmas season, how might God use us to birth something new in someone else’s life?
I like this because the message of this birth was not intended to change only Mary and Joseph’s life. This message of a baby named Jesus is also meant to usher in a new kingdom that is the kingdom of heaven. This kingdom does not look like the kingdom we have grown accustomed to. This kingdom is dedicated to turning the world on its head and healing the broken and rescuing the lost. Love is becoming the norm in this kingdom, and it becomes a reality when we receive the love of God for us and offer the love of God to others.
The new work that God wants to do within our lives could be good news for someone else. This Advent season we have an opportunity to join together as a church and allow the birth of Jesus to move us to be a part of new birth within our community. Consider the ways you could do something new to give love to others. Maybe it is finding a local family to buy gifts for as an extension of generosity and love. Maybe it is serving at a local shelter during the holiday or donating gloves and hats. Maybe it is inviting a neighbor to share cookies or a meal and developing a deeper relationship. Maybe it is beginning new family traditions and priorities that put Jesus first. Maybe it’s becoming part of community outreach in the new year.
This is what happens to us when we believe the good news of Jesus’s birth as more than just a historical fact, but also as a promise that affects our present. Our lives can be changed, and in so doing we can have an eternal impact on the lives of those around us.
Will you like Mary, say, “May your word to me be fulfilled.” God I want You to do whatever you want in me, God! Embrace the disruption and submit to God’s work in your life.