Isn’t it true that if you are writing and you make a change in what you have written that you thought the changed version was better, that’s why you made the change? I do that a lot when I’m writing articles; I never get it like I want it on the first try. That may be true with us humans, but what about God’s Word?
I’m a big fan of NATIVITIES; in fact, I used to have a pretty large collection of Nativities before our fire at church back in 2018. I use an Advent Calendar each year to tell the story of Christ’s coming to our kids at church; it’s like a 25-piece Nativity.
Here’s my problem. In trying to replace some of my Nativities that were lost in the fire, I’ve decided that for me, I only want the ones that get the story right. I’m just tired of having to look at Nativities that change the story of Christ’s birth, like the true details aren’t good enough. I’m tired of having to unexplain parts of the story to kids so that they get the story right.
Would you like to guess how many I’ve found? NONE! That’s right, NONE. Every Nativity I’ve found either has the wise men or the Star or both in it, and neither were there at the stable that night in Bethlehem.
Matthew 2 makes it clear that the wise men arrived much later, in fact, Joseph, Mary and Jesus were living in a house there in Bethlehem. And from Herod’s killing of the baby boys 2 years and under, they probably showed up when Jesus was between 18 months to 2 years old; certainly not at the stable.
Matthew 2 is also the only record of the Star that appears in almost every Nativity, often called the Bethlehem Star. The Star came to rest over the “place where the child was”, which was a house when he was a toddler.
You may be thinking, “Well, Mike, it doesn’t say anything about a “stable.” True, but it does mention the “manger” and that would only be found in a stable where you would keep the animals, which are also not specifically mentioned. You see, I’m not a detail freak. The stable and the animals are reasonable parts of the story; neither change the story. Not so with the wise men and the star.
Now you may be saying to yourself, “Mike, you are getting all hung up on the details; the birth of Jesus is the point, so just chill.” I know that His birth is the big deal, but why change the details, especially when it is God’s Word. It’s like saying that the details don’t matter. Then what about changing other places in God’s Word? If we can alter or rearrange the Scriptures in one place, how about other places?
That’s my problem and I totally know that it’s MY PROBLEM. So have any Nativity you want and I’m fine with that. But for me, I only want the ones that get the story right. So if you find a Nativity that only has the stable, the animals, the shepherds, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, let me know. I’d like to see it. God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.