Nativity – I just looked up this word and it means “place of birth or origin” though the word is now synonymous with Christ’s birth. Tuesday I was at the Dallas Arboretum and got to see a collection of over 500 renditions of the birth of Jesus – or a Nativity scene.


There seemed to be a set from every country. Each tended to be made with materials or styles native to their origin.


I liked this one made out of cornhusks. The settings (a barn or shed) made me think of growing up, spending my mornings and evenings caring for animals, playing in the hay, hearing the “cattle lowing, the chickens squawking, goats baaing and horses nickering a greeting. I saw many births out in that barn and the little critters thrived in their environment…but I wouldn’t have wanted to have my own babies out there!


This one is for my Mom – it’s paper quilling. The palm tree reminds me of the area where she grew up – on the coast of Texas.


The tiniest ones were in a nutshell. Jesus’ birthplace was considered a small, insignificant little town. “And thou Bethleham, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come…the ruler of Israel.” Micah 5:2


Some of the sets had unusual themes like this one made of car parts. But the circumstances of Christ’s birth was unusual too. Crowded out of house and home, born with the animals, angels for a birth announcement and shepherds as the first visitors – not quite like the hospital births of today! His birth also sparked a mass slaughter of children, brought foreign dignitaries to his home and allowed one old man to die in peace. (Sound odd? go read Matthew 2 and Luke 2).


And finally, there were a few sets that were downright strange (I missed the rubber ducky one). John 3 talks about a strange birth too – being born again. Christ was born so we could claim a new birthplace, one that identifies us not to geography or even our parents, but to God. Think about it. Where are you from?

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