Missionary Moment: Nativity Scenes
Once upon a time, there was a man. This man wanted to understand better the coming of Jesus to earth on Christmas.
So he called together a group of people to a cave. Some people brought sheep, donkeys, and cows, and each person dressed themselves. One as Mary, one as Joseph, and several shepherds, with a baby to be the Christ Child.
The man looked at this re-created image of the birth of Jesus, and gained a greater understanding of the sacrifice of God the Father to allow His Son to become a human being.
This man was St. Francis of Assisi. After St. Francis created the first “live nativity,” the tradition spread like wildfire, and now we see nativity scenes set up in churches, homes, and outside.
At the Christmas Eve children’s Mass at my home parish, St. Nicholas, the pastor has the children help him set up his little nativity scene as an example to the rest of the parish. Here’s why.
Drive around. Look at the lights and the blow-up Santas and the reindeer. But also look at the nativity scenes. We are taught that all the characters should be facing outward or sideways, more towards us as we look into the scene.
But children, when they set up a nativity scene, place all of the figures to directly face Jesus in the manger with their backs to us. These kids understand that Christmas is a time when we should all be re-centering our gaze on Jesus and the miracle that is His coming as one of us.
This Christmas, remember to refocus your life. Face toward Jesus. He is the Light of the World. If you turn your back to Jesus, your shadow will block his light from your path. Face Him, and He will light the path of your life to Him. Merry Christmas!