Joy to the World
Nativity scenes. We know them well. Mary and Joseph kneeling, with baby Jesus in a manger. Grubby shepherds to one side, and the three regal kings with their gifts, on the other. They’re huddled in an isolated stable, with a cow, donkey and a sheep looking on. All topped with a shining star.
It’s a scene that I thought I knew so well, but the gems that God has revealed through my study of the Christmas story have been so exciting!
I now see Mary and Joseph gazing in wonder at their newborn baby. They’re squeezed to the side of their family-friend’s house, in the spot where the animals usually live. The guest rooms in all Bethlehem houses are overflowing, because of the census. Baby Jesus is lying in a manger, and the astonished shepherds pop their heads in, check that the baby is there just as the angel had told them, then they’re off to tell this extraordinary story of God’s faithfulness to others! Ordinary people, male and female shepherds, have been given an extraordinary story to tell.
The three kings have no crowns, in fact they aren’t three, nor kings; they are many. Stunning is the sight of this exotic group of male and female priests from Persia. These pagans from another land are ecstatically joyful to find the king of the Jews; who is a little boy, Jesus, with his mother Mary. What a sight to see the magi––tears streaming––fall flat on their faces, in deep worship of this little boy. They give gifts which have cost them so much. Expensive gifts, fit for a king.
Oh the sight! Ordinary Jewish people proclaiming extraordinary news!
Exotic pagan people falling on their face in joyful, sacrificial worship!
The King of the Jews is indeed the King of the World!
God loves us so much that he came to live among us. God with us, Immanuel. This is good news for the whole world.
May we respond with overwhelming joy, deep worship and loving sacrifice, and may we tell others this extraordinary news.
May God continue to bless you and your family.
By Nicola Mountfort (Student Pastor)