The Shepherds, The Wise Men, and The Rest of Us

Throughout Advent, I’ve been pondering Immanuel, or “God with us” and about how True Love came to stay. In my previous post, I shared how I’m discovering that living with God is about receiving His love one day at a time. Actually, I knew that before, but apparently life requires relearning.

I spent four weeks prayerfully arranging our nativity set as an Advent-long devotion. I read and considered what each Christmas character says about Immanuel. It wasn’t a perfect study, but I was readier for Christmas than I’ve been in a long time.

On Christmas Eve, I quickly added Baby Jesus, the shepherds, and the wise men all at once. I know the timing isn’t proper, but I love how it looks on Christmas morning when they’re all together and with God. Wild and friendly beasts, the rich and poor, the proud and humble, the glorious and lowly. Even teenagers and grown adults. The complete nativity illustrates a day when all of God’s creation will gather in joyful worship, and I just can’t wait.

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!

Revelation 5:13

It’s been a rough year, and Advent began with me placing a miniature stable, donkey, Mary, and Joseph on a table in hopes of seeing how their stories could help me make sense of mine.

Advent also began with me clutching the pieces of my life, trying to arrange them according to my will.

Christmas finally came delivering a greater Story, a different perspective, and a much bigger God. These weeks in the nativity humbled me and helped me let go. Apparently, life requires receiving Jesus again and again.

Maybe I’ll start next year’s Advent with a full nativity scene, so I can enter the season with more of an eternal perspective. I could take each figure away, one at a time, until I’m left with Christ alone. Maybe that exercise will prompt me to surrender even more of my life. Or the same parts once again.

Or maybe I’ll just take one day at a time. Immanuel.

I’m glad that letting go doesn’t require long days of idle waiting for heaven. I like that God invites us into His Kingdom-building and fills all empty hands with purpose and direction. From what I see around the world and in my home, and from what I know of my heart, there is much to do.

On Christmas and every ordinary morning, True Love waits for us to wake up. To open up and receive. To get up and get to work.

Because He knows it can’t wait. Neither can we.

Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Ephesians 5:14

In Him,


P.S. If you missed other posts of this nativity series, get caught up HERE.

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