The Nativity and the Art of Hiding in Plain Sight

19 Dec

Shepherds hear the Good NewsHow many times have we sung the carols, watched the films and giggled along with the plays? The nativity story is extremely familiar to us. Perhaps this familiarity however has bred ignorance to the true significance of the story. Perhaps because it is so well known to us we forget what it’s really all about?

One story springs particularly to mind, the shepherds on the hill. Luke records how angels come and announce the birth of Jesus as they tend to their flocks (read it here). But what do we think of when we hear this story? Tea Towels and dressing gowns? Parody Carols? Surly these aren’t why master historian recorded this portion of the Nativity tale? If we look again with fresh eyes maybe we’ll see what he was really trying to do.

1) Teach us about a person.

We all know the nativity is about Jesus, but who often we forget who Jesus is! As Luke records the angels words that Saviour had come, the Christ, the Lord, he’s teaching us a central truth of Christianity. Jesus was God, come to rescue. How often is Christmas about a helpless babe rather than the almighty?

Yet, as soon as we’ve heard these words the angel continues and points us to that very baby in a manger. Why? Because Jesus was unique. Both fully God and fully man.  Is it any wonder that a story celebrated 2000years later be at least a little bit spectacular?

Christmas is about Jesus and Jesus was God, plus flesh, come to the rescue.

2) Show us a reaction.

As the focus of the story shifts from the subject of the angels song to the reaction of the shepherds we see a marked difference in us and them. They investigate, they go and see. When they heard about the Christ come…they were expecting it, they wanted it to be true, they went to find out in the hope that it was so.

But when we hear about the Christ come we are often unaware of our need. The shepherds were eager because they knew they needed the Christ (at least to free them from Roman occupation) but we tend to think we’re fine and that our greatest need is our next meal. How wrong can we be!

Part of God coming as Saviour, Christ, is that we all have something that we need rescuing from. Oh if only we recognised that our greatest need was for that baby to be born perhaps the Nativity story would move us to further and deeper investigation.

3) Provide a template for change.

The shepherds hear, they investigate, they find…and then what? Do they, like us, put the Christmas message on the shelf for 12months and return to ‘life as normal’? no, they are forever changed. No longer mere shepherds but people who praise and glorify God.

Likewise we should not approach Christmas and leave unchanged. At it’s heart is a person with a purpose, a man with a mission. If we truly see and recognise that then we’ll be forever changed.


One Response to “The Nativity and the Art of Hiding in Plain Sight”


  1. Joy, joy, joy! « Nelima's blog - 22/12/2011

    […] If this post has left you feeling a little underwhelmed, then click over to The nativity and the art of hiding in plain sight, it’s a great read! GA_googleAddAttr(“AdOpt”, “1”); GA_googleAddAttr(“Origin”, “other”); […]

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