Nativity? What’s that?

Nativity means birth and The Nativity refers to the birth of Jesus, and is also known as Christmas. I have written about how we celebrate Christmas in a previous post.

I still think it’s worth asking that question, whether you’re a traditionalist or a modernist. However, now I want to think about a different aspect of it: why we celebrate it.

Why not celebrate the Nativity?

We may note the birthdays of other people, either our friends and family or famous historic or contemporary characters – celebrities even! Yet nobody makes such a big fuss about any of these, not even the birthdays of other religious leaders, past or present. You might also think Jesus’s life was more important than his birth. Of course, Christians do commemorate his death too – at Easter and in every service of Holy Communion. But why his birth?

What does the Bible say?

Of the four gospels, only Matthew and Luke describe the Nativity in detail. They don’t tell it the same, as Matthew tells of the Wise Men whilst Luke gives us shepherds. Not that either actually contradicts the other. Mark doesn’t mention it, whilst John deals with it rather differently. He does not go into detail but speaks of its significance. And what significance! John says Jesus always was God from the beginning of time but became human just once. Read the first half of the first chapter of John’s Gospel – it’s not long.

So what?

If John is right, then the birth of Jesus is something to celebrate. Before he did anything, he was already God on Earth. How amazing! It suggests that whatever he came to Earth to do was so important only God could do it. What? To die! The rest of the New Testament tells us that Jesus died to pay for our sins. Only God could do that. Nobody else’s death would be good enough. Then he rose from the dead. Definitely only God could do that. All that was implied in his birth. That is something to celebrate!

What about Church?

If you believe in Jesus, or if you are not sure, but you have a problem with the Church, you aren’t alone. You might find a book like How to Cope with the Church by John Murray helpful. Or look around for a non-traditional service, like LifeTime at St Paul’s Penketh on Thursday mornings. There are other variations in other churches. Try looking for Fresh Expressions.

Llandaff Cathedral by George Dolman. One place the Nativity will be celebrated.

Llandaff Cathedral by George Dolman. One place the Nativity will be celebrated.