Many Christmases ago my little girl, aged 5, came home and told me she was going to play Mary in the school nativity. My heart was bursting with pride and joy as I enthusiastically hugged her. Surely this is every mothers dream, that their daughter, if they have one, will one day play Mary in the Nativity. We were on the front row on the day of the production and our daughter was a beautiful Mary, if not perfunctory with her lines and straight faced!
I wonder what character I’d like to have been at the real nativity; Mary, Joseph, the 3 wise men, shepherds, angels? I find that question interesting, because every person and group are rather incredible and have a special role in this amazing story.
Imagine sitting there on a dark night, aware of a hugely bright star, trying to keep awake and warm watching over your sheep and suddenly an angel appears declaring “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). Then a great company appears and they are praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14). I think one angel appearing to me would be rather awesome and life changing, to have a choir of them singing and shining so brightly would be enthralling and truly magnificent.
Indeed the whole event of Jesus being born is mesmerising and magnificent. These angels have summed up the power and love of Christmas – a Saviour, not just for the rich, but for shepherds and ultimately for everyone. God’s favour was resting on all mankind that night as His only begotten son was born into this fallen world. His favour on us meant we could become children of God. The sheep - we, the sheep - had gone astray and Jesus our most faithful Shepherd came to get us.