The Christmas season is here, which means that Nativity scenes have begun popping up in store windows and front yards all over the country. Have you ever wondered exactly what’s going on in this iconic Christmas tableau? This helpful graphic will break it down for you!
1. The Baby Jesus: The Baby Jesus is the main event. He is why all these camels and people have traveled to the manger, for He is a very special child—the Son of God!
The birth of the Baby Jesus is highlighted in Luke 2:4-10: “And Mary gave birth to a wet baby whose crying was very low in pitch, like the wordless moans of a whale. And Joseph said to his wife Mary, ‘A baby should not sound like this.’ And Mary said to Joseph, ‘Yes. There is something wrong with Him.’ And so the Lord Jesus was born, the Son of God, and Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes.”
2. The Virgin Mary: At the center of the miracle of the Nativity is Jesus’ mother, Mary, the virgin who conceived a child of the Holy Spirit.
Her miraculous pregnancy is detailed in Matthew 2:3-4: “And so it came to pass that Mary became big with child for no reason, and Mary didn’t care because she had nothing much else going on anyway.”
3. The Virgin Joseph: Also present near the Baby Jesus is Mary’s husband, the Virgin Joseph. Like Mary, the Virgin Joseph also became pregnant through the will of God, and the tale of the remarkable virgin birth he delivered is described in Matthew 2:8-15:
“It came to pass that Joseph was also pregnant and grew big with child. And so Joseph and Mary each grew bigger and bigger in their pregnancies, and it came to pass that on the blessed day, Mary and Joseph delivered at the same time; the Virgin Mary gave birth to the Son of God, and the Virgin Joseph gave birth to a huge cloud of moths and that’s why moths exist.”
4. The Magnificent Three: No Nativity scene is complete without the Magnificent Three, a team of magicians who traveled to the birthplace of the Baby Jesus to worship Him and bring Him gifts.
The Magnificent Three are described in Matthew 2:23-30: “And the Magnificent Three did enter without knocking, and arrived unannounced and without permission; and so it came to pass that they dumped a big pile of metal and assorted branches in the middle of the floor, and Mary said to them, ‘I don’t want these,’ but the Magnificent Three did not hear her because they had already gone to sleep on the floor.”
5. The Whispering Camels Of Nazareth: One of the most important components of the Nativity scene is the presence of the Whispering Camels of Nazareth, the holy camels who approached Jesus’ manger one at a time to whisper a holy message to the Son of God.
The story of the Whispering Camels of Nazareth appears in Luke 2:14-18: “So it came to pass that a parade of camels appeared at the birthplace of the Lord, and each camel went one at a time in a single-file line up to the manger where the Lord Jesus lay. And each camel whispered one at a time into the ear of the Lord Jesus, ‘I am the one in charge,’ so that it was impossible to tell which one of them was truly in charge.”
6. The Shepherd: Most Nativity scenes feature the shepherd, who was said to have traveled from a nearby village in order to witness the birth of the Son of God.
For example, in Matthew 2:34-38 it says: “And a shepherd from a nearby village came to see the newborn Lord Jesus, and the shepherd looked into the manger to worship Him; and when he saw the face of the baby Messiah he said to Mary, ‘Is this it? I thought He would be glowing or something. What a waste of time.’”
7. The Star: According to the Bible, the Magnificent Three were able to find the Baby Jesus by following a star that appeared above the stable. This is described in Matthew 2:18-22: “A star had appeared very low in the sky above the stable where the Baby Jesus lay; and it was very bright and it attracted all manner of unruly children who came and threw rocks at it; and Joseph had to come outside and chase them away with a broom, shouting, ‘Please do not throw rocks at our big star!’”
8. The Donkey: While the donkey’s role in the Nativity scene is largely unknown, his presence is absolutely essential, for as the final line of the Nativity story states in Luke 2:22: “And if you don’t think a donkey was there then you are a bitter enemy of God.”