The Nativity Speaks 🎄

by Mark Weinrich

Pastor Watson’s hair was white as snow. His face was wrinkled all over. He lit the last Advent candle and turned to the table with the Nativity scene. Every wrinkle smiled when he smiled. He pointed at the Nativity. “What if the nativity pieces could speak?” he asked, “What would they want us to know?”

Five-year-old Julie sat on her knees. She sat with her mother and father. It was Christmas Eve.

Julie loved nativities. What, Julie thought, what would the pieces say?

Pastor Watson looked down at the nativity. He lifted the angel from the scene and held it to his ear. It looked like the angel was a cell phone. Suddenly, his face looked funny. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is wonderful,” he said.

What, Julie thought, what is wonderful? Mama had nativities high and low. Daddy boosted Julie up to see the high ones. Sometimes, Mama let her play with the low ones if she was careful. Julie could not wait to hear what the angel said.

“I’m sorry,” Pastor Watson teased, “I suppose you want to know. The angel says, ‘Share the good news and share the joy.’”

“The angel is reminding us that Jesus’ birth is good news and great joy for all people,” the pastor said.

He set the angel down on the table next to advent candles. Then he reached into the nativity and lifted the shepherd to his ear. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is marvelous,” he said.

What is marvelous? Julie wondered.

“The shepherd says, ‘Seek the Savior and enjoy the wonder,” the pastor said. “Remember the angel told the shepherds to look for a baby wrapped in clothes, lying in a feed trough.” Pastor Watson said. “They had to search for the baby Jesus. The shepherds found Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus in a stable, because there was no room for them in the inn. The shepherds shared the good news of great joy, which the angels had told them. ‘…and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.’”

Pastor Watson set the shepherd down on the table next to the angel. Then he reached into the nativity and lifted Joseph to his ear. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is amazing,” he said.

What is amazing? Julie wondered.

“Joseph says, ‘Obey God’s Word, it is worth it,’” the pastor said. “Angels appeared to Joseph three times and told him where to go. Each time Joseph obeyed. It was an adventure, watching Jesus grow, and learning more and more about why God had sent His Son.”

Pastor Watson set Joseph down on the table next to the shepherd. Then he reached into the nativity and lifted Mary to his ear. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is astonishing,” he said.

What is astonishing? Julie wondered.

“Mary says, ‘Give your life to God, God will do amazing things in you.’” the pastor said. “God has plans for our lives greater than anything we could ever dream. Mary made room in her life for Jesus, and the world has never been the same. She saw Jesus grow and learned more and more about why God had sent His Son.”

Pastor Watson set Mary down on the table next to Joseph. Then he reached into the nativity and lifted the donkey to his ear. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is true,” he said.

What is true? Julie wondered.

“The donkey says, ‘He is no burden.’” Pastor Watson said. “This beast of burden reminds us that Jesus was born to bear our burdens. Jesus said, ‘“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.’”

Pastor Watson set the donkey down next to Joseph. Then he reached into the nativity and lifted a wise man to his ear. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is excellent,” he said.

What is excellent? Julie wondered. But she was getting worried. Jesus looked lonely.

“The wise man says, ‘Don’t be afraid to look for His star.” Pastor Watson said, “I wonder if the Lord has a star for everyone. David wrote, ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’ Like God did for the wise men, He will give light for our way.”

Pastor Watson set the wise man down beside the donkey. Then he reached into the nativity and lifted the second wise man to his ear. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is good,” he said.

What is good? Julie wondered.

“The second wise man says, ‘Follow His star, He knows how to lead you,’” the pastor said. “As the wise men trusted the Lord to lead them, we can trust Him too. He will lead us to Jesus. King Solomon wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart… and He will direct your paths.”

Pastor Watson set the second wise man down with the other wise man. He reached into the nativity and lifted the last wise man to his ear. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is splendid,” he said.

What is splendid? Julie wondered. Now Jesus looked really lonely, there were only a camel, a sheep, and a cow left with Him.

“The last wise man says, ‘God will surprise you with joy.” Pastor Watson said, “Think about the happiest time in your life.  When the wise men found the baby Jesus, it was a time of great joy.  God will give us great joy when we follow him.

Matthew 2:10, 11: When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him.

Pastor Watson set the last wise man down with the other wise men. He reached into the nativity and lifted the camel to his ear. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is magnificent,” he said.

What is magnificent? Julie wondered.

“The camel says, ‘He is worthy of all the gifts we can bring.’” the pastor said. “The wise men brought magnificent gifts to Jesus—gold, frankincense and myrrh. They gave him the best gifts they could find, gifts worthy of a king. Christmas and every day, we should give our best to Jesus.”

Pastor Watson set the camel down next to the wise men. He reached into the nativity and lifted the sheep to his ear. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is awesome,” he said.

What is awesome? Julie wondered.

“The sheep says, ‘Trust the Shepherd,” the pastor said. “King David wrote, ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…’ That means God, our shepherd, will do anything for us because He loves us. Jesus said, ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’ That is what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross for our sins, so that we could have a place in heaven with Him.”

Pastor Watson set the sheep down next to the camel. He reached into the nativity, lifted the cow to his ear. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is so sad,” he said.

What is so sad? Julie wondered. Now, Jesus was alone. That is really sad, “The cow says, “I was here first,” the pastor said with a grumpy voice. “There are three kinds of people in the world: those who don’t want anything to do with Jesus, those who don’t care about Him, and those who want to love Him. There will always be selfish people in the world that put themselves first. May we live like the other Christmas characters and give our lives to Jesus.

Pastor Watson set the cow down next to the sheep. He reached into the nativity, lifted the Jesus to his ear. His eyes got big and his mouth was shaped like an O. “That is spectacular,” he said.

“Don’t take Jesus,” Julie cried.

“Did you hear that,” Pastor Watson said, “someone here loves Jesus.”

Everyone started clapping.

Julie’s mom and dad smiled at her, but Julie was still worried about Jesus.

“What is your name, little lady?” The pastor asked.

“I’m Julie,” she said.

“In a minute, I’m going to put all the pieces back. Would you help me?” Pastor Watson asked.

Julie looked at her parents and they nodded yes. “Can I put Jesus back?” she asked.

“Of course,” the pastor replied.

Pastor Watson held Jesus up to his ear again. His eyes got big, and he smiled the biggest smile Julie had ever seen. “It is beyond marvelous,” the pastor said. It is better than awesome. It is absolutely fabulous.”

“Jesus says, ‘He loves you one and all, young and old, tall and small.’ Pastor Watson said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Everyone clapped and smiled. Julie could not wait to put Jesus back.

Pastor Watson leaned over the stable, like he was listening to it.

“That is awfully, awfully sad,” he said.

What is so awfully, awfully sad? Julie wondered. 

“The stable says, ‘Life is empty without Jesus,” the pastor said. “Remember John wrote, ‘He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.’ That means His family and friends, and the people in His hometown made no room for Jesus in their lives. That is awfully, awfully sad, their lives were empty like this stable.”

“Julie, could you help me put the pieces back?” The pastor asked.

Julie ran down the aisle and stood next to the pastor.

“John also wrote,” Pastor Watson said, “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”

Julie reached out, and the pastor put the Jesus piece in her hand. The Jesus piece felt warm.  When she put him in the middle of the stable, everyone clapped again.

“That is the way life should be,” Pastor Watson said. “We must put Jesus first.”

“Let us sing Silent Night,” Pastor Watson said.

While the people sang, Julie slowly put the Nativity pieces back in their places. She knew where to put each piece because she had helped her mother. Mom loved nativities too.

After Julie put the last piece, the grumpy cow in place, everyone sang Joy To The World. The words, “let every heart prepare Him room” rang out. Julie would never forget the empty stable. Christmas is about making room for Jesus.


Mark Weinrich lives a creative life as a writer, photographer, musician, and artist—all wrapped together in an outdoorsman. He is a retired pastor and nine-year cancer survivor. His writing and photography have appeared in over 130 news stand, inspirational, and literary publications. He has sold eight children’s books and currently has two fantasy novels on Kindle.

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