My wife and I had the joy of teaching Children’s Church on Sunday, and I loved the opening illustration. As the children came into the room they took turns writing what they do to get ready for Christmas on the whiteboard. As could be expected 10 days before Christmas, most of it had to do with presents.
Then Melanie read a list of some of the things we often do to prepare for Christmas and a prop was placed into a manger on top of a doll for each activity. There was a cookie sheet, a little Christmas tree, a camera to represent the family photo, stationery, and of course several presents.
The point was not that doing activities to celebrate Christmas is bad, but rather that we can get so busy getting ready to celebrate Jesus’ birthday that we forget about Jesus. He can get covered up by all of the details or traditions and be completely missed.
Isn’t this what the chief priests and scribes did in Matthew chapter 2? They were so concerned with their traditions that even though they knew a lot about Christ’s birth, they didn’t go to see Him or worship Him.
All of those things in the manger in that Children’s Church room should have been outside the manger. They should have pointed to Jesus rather than take His place!
This Christmas, don’t cover up the manger, but point to it. Because pointing to the manger points us to the cross. “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21)