Messy Nativity

Day 8. 17 sleeps until Christmas. Activity: dress like a nativity scene.


One of my favorite parts of our annual Christmas countdown is the “dressup like a nativity scene” night. If I was just trying to toot my own horn I would say it’s my favorite because we learn more about Jesus. But in reality it’s my favorite because you just never know what is going to happen, and it’s sure to be hilarious at one point or another.

Tonight’s highlights:

The self appointed narrator who ran upstairs to get dressed up at the last minute. He loved leading us and the six other characters through the story via scene changes and role play.


The “curtain” we were supposed to “imagine opening” to a scene that looked like Mary and Joseph were dead. Then being informed they were laying quietly and waiting on their angel dreams.


The baby in a manger getting scooted on and off “stage” at appropriate times and being constantly instructed to try to look more like a just born baby. At one point he informed his bossy Mary mommy he could not look asleep until the lights were off.


The angel appearing to the shepherd in the field.


The one wiseman bringing a gift of football shoulder pads because it was the only thing he could find in the playroom to use as his gift of silver (yeah, we are revisiting that).


And the random (but adorable) sheep who showed up in every scene.


All together it was messy. And perfect.


My kids may never get this quite right. And while I don’t want them to get the feeling that it’s a funny story or that we shouldn’t try to learn more about it, I also learn a lot when I let them tell it their way. Because truth be told, I stumble through this holiday, too. I don’t know how best to celebrate it. I struggle to dig deeper into what I believe. I’m pretty sure I can’t fully comprehend that a baby was born who was MAN and GOD, at exactly the same time. There are details I am surprised by every time I read this nativity story.

And maybe that’s ok. When I imagine that night Jesus was born I bet it was messy, too. Joseph probably stumbled all over the right things to say to or do for his wife who was giving BIRTH in a stable. Mary was uncomfortable (at best). The town didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for the parents of the Savior. Plus…There.were.ANIMALS. And then Jesus, blameless, perfect, clean, full of all knowledge, power and glory came straight into the middle of that mess.

That picture is so good for me. Because He’s with us now, too, smack in the middle of our mess. I can’t tell you all the ways I see him here, not taking the mess away but meeting us in the middle of it, promising to redeem it, reminding us of his glory, asking us to look at our mess and see it as Holy ground on which he CHOOSES to walk.

Our nativity scene was a mess.
We are a mess.
And that baby who was born in a mess
came to join us in our mess
And redeem every once of it.


Updated: December 9, 2014 — 4:12 am

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