Writing stories to pass values from one generation to the next

12 Questions from the Nativity Scene

nativity scene

Consider the multitude of perspectives from the nativity scene.

12 Questions from the Nativity Scene

What is Christmas without a nativity scene? We have several spread throughout out house and have often attended a live nativity scene at a church near my family’s home. This year, a local church is pulling out all the stops with a drive-through nativity scene. I’m looking forward to checking that out.

Nativity simply means birth of Christ, or the representation of it. Since the first nativity scene in 1223, they have become much more widespread through the years. Though most of today’s nativities are not biblically accurate–at least as a single scene–they do bring most the key players into one representation of the birth of the Savior.

In keeping with this December’s theme of “twelves,” I have twelve questions from different perspectives from the typical nativity scene:

  1. Where were Mary’s and Joseph’s parents? At least one set of grandparents would have been in Bethlehem, too, right? Were they there and just not mentioned?
  2. Was Mary as calm and reflective as she is represented? I certainly mean no disrespect to the Mother of God, but she was a young teenage girl giving birth for the first time.
  3. Did Joseph steal away and ponder what had just happened? What did he store up in his heart?
  4. Was the stable (very possibly just a cave) just outside of the inn and associated with it? Did the innkeeper offer it, or is that just a connection we make in Christmas plays?
  5. Did anybody walk by while Mary was giving birth…and just keep walking, completely unaware of what was going on around him?
  6. Biblically, angels are messengers of God (not what our loved ones become when they pass away) who marvel at salvation. As they were proclaiming the Savior’s birth, how much did they understand what His birth really meant to man?
  7. What were the Magi doing when they saw the star? We all assume they were hanging out at the planetarium, right?
  8. How long did it take for the Magi to pack up for their long journey? Who made the call that they should follow the star?
  9. How many Magi were there, really? Sure, they brought three gifts, but that doesn’t mean there were three of them.
  10. What story were the shepherds in the middle of telling when they saw the star and the heavenly host proclaiming Messiah’s birth?
  11. What happened to the sheep that the shepherds just up and left?
  12. How long did the shepherds’ worship of the newborn King last? And did any passersby take notice?

What do you notice? What do you wonder?

In the end one part of the nativity scene matters most. Jesus.

nativity scene

photo credit: <a href=”″>Nativity</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell.

Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and the Coach Dave series. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

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