Like many families, one our favorite Christmas traditions was telling the nativity story by each family member, once they were old enough, acting in one of the various parts of the story. I was usually the donkey (for more reasons than being the dad – I fit the part!) that Mary rode to Bethlehem. Our only daughter, Michelle, was always Mary. Whoever was the newest born child being baby Jesus and Michael our oldest, was normally Joseph. As our family grew or when we had visitors join us for Christmas, we were able to add the shepherds, the inn keeper, the wise men, and various animals. This was always one of the most memorable times during the Christmas season and our children loved participating in the story.
In addition to these basic roles in the nativity story, there are many other participants including Zacharias and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna in the temple, the Angel Gabriel, King Herod, and many others. The nativity story also includes all that parts of the ministry of Jesus including, the disciples who followed Jesus, those who were curious, those who hated him, those who believed his testimony, those who were healed or forgiven, the Roman soldiers, those who betrayed him, and so many others.
I hope that if I had lived during that time that I would have been one of the supporting roles and not one of the detractors or one that rejected him. Because of my faith and belief in Jesus Christ now believe I would have been one of the wise men that knew of the prophecies and had come seeking to know where the King of the Jews was and then finding the child I would kneel at his feet and present him gifts. Maybe I would have been among the Shepherds tending the temple flock of sheep that to whom the Angel announced the birth of the baby and then they said: “let us go see”. I hope that I would have gone to see and then having seen testified to everyone that the prophecies were fulfilled, that the Messiah had come.
I could not see myself in the role of the detractors. I would hope that I would not have been the Innkeeper that said there was no room for Christ in his life, or those that rejected Christ because he was from Nazareth, Joseph’s son, or because he taught hard doctrine. I would not be among those that threw stones at Christ, screamed that he should be crucified, or nailed him to the cross.
I could see me being someone in the crowd that heard him and then chose to follow him, that cried to him as he passed by to stop and heal me, to eat with me, or to bless my child. There are so many ways that we allow the Savior into our lives or shut him out. Do we cry out that we should not believe him because he does not follow what we think is the “law of Moses” or are we looking for a better way to love God and our fellow men?
Having accepted the call to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ, my call is to be a witness of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Everyday I put a badge that has his name on it, close to my heart. It testifies to the world that I believe in him, that he is the Christ child that the angels announced to the shepherds and invited them to go and see. He is the Christ child that the wise men presented their gifts to. He is The Only Begotten Son of God, in the flesh. He is our Savior and Redeemer.
My hope this Christmas season is that whatever role we choose, we choose so that our actions testify to the world that Jesus Christ was born, lived, served everyone, and was crucified so that everyone would have the opportunity to be resurrected and live again. What nativity part would you choose to play?
Your comments and questions are welcome, and I encourage you to share this with your friends and family. I invite you to click on the links below to see some of my favorite Christmas Carols and Hyms.
Silent Night - Seven Year-old Clair Crosby accompanied by President Russell M. Nelson
The Piano Guys – “O Come, Emmanuel”
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square & David Archuleta – “Joy to the World”