We see the nativity scene throughout the Advent season, on greeting cards, under Christmas trees, or brightly illuminated on the lawns of public places. This scene depicts a romanticized version of Jesus’ birth narratives found in Matthew and Luke, complete with wise men who traveled long distances to join the shepherds and holy family. Yet these paintings or figurines can lead to a glossed-over experience of the individual characters and their importance in our lives.
The purpose of this study is to look beyond the presentation of the nativity scene so that participants can find their place at the manger. Each session of this four-session study will examine what we know about those who were there to witness the birth of Jesus: Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men. Throughout each session, participants will not only look at these characters in Scripture but also how they speak to us in our modern context so that we may find where we fit in as we await the joy of Jesus’ birth.
Written by pastor and activist Krin Van Tatenhove, each week includes a Participant Handout and a Leader's Guide that helps a leader facilitate a forty-five minute session. Activity ideas available in the Leader's Guides include: small-group discussion and reflection questions, opening litanies, suggested prayers, group reflection, and more.