Nativity (Day 10)
David Yarborough

… and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. ~ Matthew 1:21

By this we know love because Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. ~ 1 John 3:16

I love Nativity scenes. I had the simple joy of setting up our WillowTree Nativity set a few days ago. My heart was touched as I placed the adoring mother Mary cradling Jesus close to her side, and Joseph with hands
clutched to his heart with a slight reverent bow to his head. A shepherd kneels before the child with sheep and little lambs seemingly aware something is special taking place. Then the wisemen are set in place, bowing in worship and bearing their gifts to the newborn king. There is a simplicity, a humility, and a beauty about a good nativity scene.

When I pause to reflect upon the messages of the manger, I often become filled with moments of Majesty. My heart becomes stirred with a desire to draw close to God, for I know Jesus came to draw near to us, and draw
us back into the presence of God. I hear the voice of God calling to me in powerful yet gentle love. The little nativity set seems to echo God’s heart, “Here I am. I love you. I have come to you. I have come for you. I would
not let sin keep us apart.”

In another moment of Majesty, I look upon the baby Jesus – the one who lies in a manger – and I struck with the realization that I could never get to heaven on my own. It as if I sense the wood from the manger being
pulled apart and reconstructed into the form of a cross. This baby did not come just to live, but ultimately came to die – to give His life for me and you. When the angel came to Joseph, he told him to name the baby boy Jesus (which means Savior) because he would save his people from their sins. The nativity reminds me that Jesus didn’t come just so I could have warm fuzzy feelings staring at a manger scene every Christmas.

His name Jesus means “One who Saves” or simply SAVIOR! The baby was sent on a rescue mission. Heaven sent the Son, because we had no hope of heaven without Him. The little sheep in my nativity represent the sheep that shepherds were watching in the fields when angels came and announced the good news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2). These sheep were very likely being raised to provide sacrificial lambs for families who had
travelled to Jerusalem to come and worship at the temple. They would need a sacrifice to come before God and be cleansed – the blood of an innocent third party offered for the sins of the guilty party. God declared
there would be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. These little lambs remind me the Jesus is the true Lamb of God. There is no pardon from sin without Mary’s child. John declared, “This is how we know what
love is, because Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). The sweet child laying peacefully asleep in the manger would one day be seized by violent, angry hands – betrayed, whipped and beaten, mocked and spat upon, and the laid upon a cross where spikes would be driven through his hands and feet. Yet his life was not taken from him; He willingly laid it down for us. It had to happen. The manger confronts us with urgency
that there really is a heaven, and there really is a hell and this child is the only one who can save us. That is why He is called Jesus for He is One who will save us from our sins.

Is your Nativity scene up yet? Do you hear God calling to you, inviting you to into His mercy and forgiveness? Do not miss the invitation of the manger, and remember that there is an R.S.V.P required. Have you
responded to Jesus?