Looking out or looking in?

20161130_084120Wed., Nov. 30, 2016

 Luke 2:7: And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manager, because there was no guest room available for them.

What is your favorite symbol of Christmas? A Christmas tree? Presents? Wreath?

My favorite symbol is easy: the nativity scene. It was my favorite long before I was a pastor. I have always just loved looking at different nativity scenes.

Many years before I was a pastor, my Mom asked what I would like for Christmas. I told her a nativity scene. I was specific about the kind of nativity I wanted. I didn’t want a high-gloss version. I didn’t want the fancy ones. As nice as these are, they aren’t me.

I wanted a more realistic version. Simple. More real life. When I saw the scene that I liked, it was at a store far from my Mom’s house. I think she asked my sister to go and get it for me. It was a surprise when I opened this particular nativity on Christmas Day. It has moved with me many, many times. Each year, I enjoy having it out during Advent.

I’ve noticed something interesting about nativity scenes. When adults arrange them, we have the figurines looking out; at us. When kids arrange them, everyone is looking into the stable at the baby. Why the difference? I think adults want to see the faces of the figurines. The kids understand more appropriately the nativity is about baby Jesus and have them looking in.

Yep, I have my guys facing out right now. Before Christmas, I’ll make sure they get turned around, facing the baby. More importantly, may my heart be looking in towards Christ this Advent and not outwards, looking for recognition of something I do or acknowledging my achievements.

What is your favorite symbol of Christmas? Why? How do you use this symbol throughout Christmas to help you prepare for the birth of a king? How can it help you keep looking towards the baby?

Heavenly Father – Sometimes, I imagine you cringing as we too often commercialize Christmas and the events around them. Yet, I know that you also see the many things we do to help us remember the birth of Jesus. Place in our hearts the connections of the Christmas story. Help this story come alive for us this Advent season. Amen.

 Today’s item for Jesus’ birthday box: ketchup.

 Blessings –

Dianne

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