My wife and I recently started a new family Christmas tradition. This year we put out our nativity set without the Jesus figurine. Then, on Christmas morning, we will add the Jesus figurine together as a family. So it’s been several days that I have walked past our Jesus-less nativity and I am amazed how big a difference this tiny little figurine (or lack thereof) makes to the rest of the scene. You have Joseph whose arms are supposed to be extended in adoration, but instead he looks like a man who can’t find his car in a parking lot. You have the wise men who are supposed to be approaching with reverence but instead they are waiting around and you get the feeling that at any moment one is going to turn to the others and say “Uhhh, where is He?”. The animals, who are supposed to be bowed in humility, instead look like they collapsed out of exhaustion from waiting. Then there is Mary, whose hands are together as she is supposed to be peaceably praising God. But instead she seems to be desperately begging God for the Promised One.
But the wonderful truth, for which we celebrate Christmas, is that Jesus did come. There was a shocking moment in history when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. It actually happened; the God of the universe chose to be born in a small little town as a small little baby to a teenage girl. Just as that little Jesus figurine gives new meaning to the rest of the scene, so the fact of Jesus’ birth gives new meaning to everything else. Without Jesus there is no Christmas. In the chaos of the season, we must not forget Jesus Christ is the central figure.