Mary wore pink shiny boots for the nativity, with a stripey top under her blue tabard and headscarf. A chubby, cheeky toddler shepherd picked up the campfire and proceeded to demolish it. Angels with glittery wings and floaty skirts gathered shyly around the manger and the bemused parents of the baby Jesus. A very simple and touching nativity scene, full of cute moments, but the powerful message of Christmas nevertheless central to all that was going on. Parents and grandparents smiling with pride, enjoying the unrehearsed moments when things didn’t quite go according to plan. But we got there in the end.
This was our morning in church last Sunday. My little Mary, she of the pink boots,suddenly saw the night sky that same evening in all its glory for the first time. Gazing at the star studded sky she said “Wow, I’ve never seen stars before”. Her childlike awe and wonder was delightful and she was obviously pondering the vastness of the sky and the glitter of the stars.
There were moments for the first Mary when she might have wondered how things were going to turn out. Moments where she might have felt anxious about the long journey they would have to make, moments where the prospect of giving birth might have been more than a bit daunting.
But we are told that Mary pondered things in her heart. She had much to mull over, her life had been swallowed into history in a heartbeat. It would never be the same again that was for sure. She too had the wonder of stars, one special bright one to be precise. That star would lead rough shepherds and learned wise men alike to gaze in wonder at what lay before them.
Its so easy to get carried away with the turkey and tinsel, the trappings and wrappings of Christmas. Some try to have Christmas with out Christ, what meaning does it have then?
You can come to the manger however you are. Whether you’re wearing pink shiny boots or nursing a broken heart, whether you feel like a failure or fed up with feeling lost or frightened. There’s room here for everyone, to gaze in awe and wonder, to ponder the meaning of life, the reason for the season, to find hope, peace, salvation, freedom from the past, a hope for the future.
This tiny child brought God to earth and yet left behind the glory of heaven for a smelly, dirty stable. All this so He knew what it felt like to be hungry, thirsty, tired, happy and sad the same as us. He came into our world to point the way to a better one. Jesus came down so that we might be lifted up.
As you clear away the wrapping paper, find homes for all those presents, rush to the sales, or visit with families and friends don’t forget that baby. That tiny child who grew to a man. Don’t put Him away with the tinsel. Take time to ponder just like Mary, take time to talk to Him, tell Him how you feel, tell Him what’s bothering you most. His name Emmanuel means God with us, with you, with me, with all of us. Wherever you are now, whatever you’re going through He is with you.
I hope you have had a happy peaceful day but I also know Christmas can be a very difficult time, for some a very lonely time, so my prayer is that you will come to the manger and find the baby, get to know Jesus better and trust Him with your joys and sorrows. He longs to share Himself with you.