Wednesday, December 29, 2010

God Made Into Flesh! That's It!

I mentioned in my blog yesterday that on Christmas Eve one of the things my family did this year was to watch the movie, "The Nativity Story." I had seen it before and really liked it but watching it again on Christmas Eve really helped me to keep the miracle of Christmas in the forefront of my mind. There were several things that really made an impression on me:

The movie did a great job of showing just how "typical" Mary and Joseph would have been. Sometimes we tend to see this couple as "spiritual superheroes" of sorts. And though they were chosen by God for a reason, it is safe to say that they were also ordinary folks.

The movie did a great job of showing how difficult it would have been for Mary and Joseph to live in Nazareth with Mary being pregnant before the time of their consummation. I think we sometimes forget the scorn and ridicule they would have endured as everyone in this small town would have concluded that they had acted immorally when in fact they were innocent.

The movie did a great job of showing the excitement yet fear that Mary and Joseph must have felt knowing that they would be the parents of the Son of God. I love the part of the movie where Mary and Joseph are sitting by the fire on their way to Bethlehem and Mary asks Joseph if he is scared. Joseph admits that he is and adds this statement, "I wonder if I will be able to teach him anything." After all, what can you teach God? How amazing to put myself for a few moments in Joseph's sandals.

The movie also did a great job of showing the very difficult circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus - circumstances that Mary and Joseph had to endure. Imagine being great with child and having to travel over 100 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem on foot, or at best, on a donkey. Imagine the fear of being in labor when you reach Bethlehem and not being able to find anywhere to stay. Imagine giving birth in a cave surrounded by dirty, smelly animals. WOW!

But my favorite part of the movie occurs as the Wise Men show up at the manger. Now first I had to get past the Biblical inaccuracies. I don't believe the Wise Men came to the manger but rather arrived a few months later when Mary, Joseph and Jesus were living in a house. And second, I do not believe the star shown over the manger. The star shown over the house that Mary, Joseph and Jesus later lived in. The sign for the shepherds to find the baby Jesus on the night of His birth wasn't a star, as the movie depicts. Remember what the angel told them? "This shall be a sign for you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." The shepherds did not follow the star to the manger. They ran through the city of Bethlehem going from manger to manger until they found the one containing a newborn baby.

But nevertheless, when the Wise Men get to the manger in the movie and see this amazing sight of a newborn King, the camera focuses in on the face of one of the Wise Men who makes this declaration about the baby, "It is God wrapped in flesh!" I remember when I saw this movie in the theater and it came to this part. It was all I could do not to stand up and yell, "That's it! Did you hear that? That is the miracle of Christmas!"

I think we will add this movie to our yearly Christmas traditions from here on out. What a wonderful and visual way to be reminded each year that the real miracle of Christmas isn't simply that baby Jesus was born. The real miracle of Christmas was that this Jesus, born in a cave and placed in a manger, was "God made into flesh!" That's it!!


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you had a nice Christmas! Great minds think alike! LoL. I wanted to watch The Nativity Story this Christmas eve, but misplaced the DVD. We attended a candlelight service at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster. It was a very beautiful service and the gospel was clearly given. I wish you and your family a New Year full of God's blessings! Craig Ford

Pastor Scott said...

Thanks, Craig. It is great to hear from you. May the Lord bless you and your family with a very happy and healthy 2011!