So many different ways to show it, be it a nativity or a crèche, it’s the simple story of the birth of Jesus. There’s not much you can do with it except to get everybody there — even the wise men, though they came much later — and place them around the manger and the baby and Mary and Joseph. It’s a quiet, tender scene. “Away in a manger no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lays down His sweet head. The stars in the sky look down where He lay. The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.”
Whether the shepherds are the neighborhood kids in bathrobes, or the professional actors in the closing nativity scene of New York’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring the Rockettes, (a little too spectacular for a stable) it never gets old. God truly came up with something none of us would have ever thought of. Jesus, born into straw poverty. Jesus starts right out identifying with the poor and the homeless. Little baby, lay down your sweet head now while you actually have a place to lay it. Later, you will not.
It’s such an arresting picture that cuts through all the glitz and glitter of the season. Once again, imagine the night sky and the angelic hosts and the shepherds and Mary and Joseph, and the baby, lying in a manger, just as the angel said. A baby and a king. A baby and a savior. A baby and hope. A baby and light in the darkness.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among people of good will.”
Merry Christmas and we will return on December 27.