“The Savior, yes the Messiah, has been born this day” ~Luke 2:11
December 18, 2021
“The kids were so good in the Christmas pageant this year and it was so cute watching Sue and Ken’s little one play the part of baby Jesus,” said Claire.
“Yes, that was great. And Jimmy as one of the shepherds looked so good,” said Paul.
“Well, until his beard began to come off,” Claire chuckled.
And so it goes in children’s books and church plays; the baby Jesus, shepherds, scattered animals and three wise men carrying gifts, coming together in a makeshift manger scene. As the old saying goes, “What’s wrong with this picture?”
What’s wrong is the message. If you watched this pageant in your church what were your feelings? Did the child actors convey the importance of Christ’s birth to the audience? No! These children’s plays bring parental feelings of love for the actors, pride in their achievements and a little humor along the way. So what’s wrong with that you may ask?
Without exception, the birth of Jesus Christ is the most important human birth in the history of the world! His birth, the birth of our Savior, should bring jubilation, joy, amazement. The sanctuaries should resound with Hosannah’s and praise the Lord, our Savior is born. How did Luke describe the announcement to the shepherds?:
“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
If we are to stage a reenactment of this unique historical moment, should’t we also include the angel Gabriel’s meeting with Mary before she became miraculously pregnant as found in Luke 1:26-38? What must that have been like for Mary? The angel Gabriel sent by God to announce she would become pregnant and give birth to the Son of the Most High.
“Greetings favored woman! The Lord is with you! Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and He will be called the Son of God.”
When Joseph discovered Mary was pregnant, how did he react? His reaction is described in Matthew 1:18-25. “This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. Joseph was a man who always did what was right, but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly; so he made plans to break the engagement privately. While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus—because he will save his people from their sins.”
Now all this happened in order to make come true what the Lord had said through the prophet, “A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel”, which means, “God is with us”. Prophecy given 700 years prior to Jesus’ birth as recorded in Isaiah 7:14. So when Joseph woke up, he married Mary, as the angel of the Lord had told him to. But he had no sexual relations with her before she gave birth to her son. And Joseph named him Jesus.
Lord God we praise your name. Through the virgin birth of your Son, Jesus, our Redeemer, you have saved our souls and forgiven our sins. We celebrate His birth and rejoice in our favor. We are jubilant and thankful that you love us so dearly you’ve sent Jesus to take upon Himself the death sentence brought about by our sins, as only He could do. Without earning it, simply by our proclamation of faith, you’ve cleansed our hearts and saved our souls. Let us celebrate the birth of our Savior whose obedience, even to his death on the cross, opened the door for our eternal forgiveness.
Children’s Christmas pageants are lovely, delightful, tender and filled with childlike innocence. They should always be on the annual calendar. But they should not be our primary example of the most important birth in the history of our world. Can we ever say Thank You enough?