As a child I loved to play with our family's nativity scene during the Christmas season. After I finished playing, I would set everything back in the stable in the way I imagined it would have been on that first Christmas night. I made sure that Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and even the animals, were all crowded around the manger so that they could be as close as possible to baby Jesus. When I arrange our nativity scene today, I still crowd all of the people and animals around baby Jesus.
I wish I could peek into the stable on that first Christmas night. I wonder what it would have been like...
Did the animals crowd close to the manger to see baby Jesus? Did they know that something special was happening? Did they know that their Maker was right there in the stable with them?
Were Mary and Joseph able to sleep that night? Or did the wonder of having the Son of God in their arms keep them awake in amazement and delight?
Did the shepherds crowd close to the manger? Or did they stand back in reverential awe?
What were the angels thinking as they saw their God in the manger? Were they watching in amazement as the mystery of God's plan of salvation began to unfold before their eyes? If we could see the spiritual realm in the stable on that first Christmas, would we see angels crowded around the manger, along with the shepherds, to catch a glimpse of their God as a baby?
What were Satan and his demons doing? Did they know that God had come to earth? Did they shriek in terror when He was born? Or did they cower in fear, unable to make a sound for the knowing that their doom was coming?
Were the Old Testament saints watching from Heaven as the angel announced the birth of Christ? Did they sing along with the angels in praise to God? Did they gaze in awe at the baby in the stable, thrilled that God's promise to send a Savior was being fulfilled?
What was it like that first Christmas night? I wonder...how could God love me, a sinner, so much that He would come to earth to save me from my sin?
I wonder, and I stand in amazement of His great love and mercy.
*This is a re-make of a post from December 2012.*