Beginning in early December,
Christmas nativity scenes pop up in front of churches
all over the country. Some depict the baby Jesus and
Mary and Joseph. Others display the three Wise Men or
“Magi” alongside the baby Jesus and his parents.
Shepherds and their flocks are included, too. Still
others feature stable animals and angels.
Let’s take a look into the Nativity scene though God’s
Word. Two gospels in the Holy Bible contain an account
of Jesus’ birth—Matthew and Luke. Both accounts mention
that the Christ child was to be born of a virgin named
Mary, who was pledged to be married to a man named
Joseph (St. Matt. 1:18-25; St. Luke 2:1-7). They
traveled to Bethlehem in the land of Judea where Mary
gave birth to the Savior.
According to the book of Matthew, Magi visited Jerusalem
and asked King Herod where the birth of the prophesied
Christ had taken place (St. Matt. 2:1-12). They followed
a star which led them to Bethlehem where they visited
with the baby Jesus and his parents. In honor of his
birth, they presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and
myrrh. They never revealed the child’s location to
anyone, thus ensuring his family’s safety from King
The book of Luke tells of a group of shepherds tending
their flocks (Luke 2:8-20). An angel of the Lord
appeared in the midst of the shepherds and told them of
the birth of Jesus and its significance. Following the
angel’s instructions, the shepherds found the baby in
Bethlehem, laying in a manger, or feeding trough, in the
stable, because the inn had no room. After their visit,
the shepherds told anyone who would listen about what
they had witnessed.
The Magi were wealthy Middle Eastern men who traveled a
fair distance to view the Messiah. Their wealth is
evidenced by the caliber of the gifts they presented.
The shepherds, in contrast, were simple, hardworking men
who were given a revelation from God about the baby
Jesus. It seems like they represent who Jesus was born
to save—the rich and the poor.
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