THE NATIVITY EXPERIENCE: Seeing as Those Who First Saw

THE NATIVITY EXPERIENCE: Seeing as Those Who First Saw December 9, 2021

*This book is a collection of theological reflections garnered from a recent conversation between two friends, The Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, Dean of the New Theology School & The Rev. Dr. Kyle Sigmon, Associate Pastor of Worship at Faithbridge United Methodist Church (Boone, North Carolina).  This excerpt is from the section of the book talking about The Animals at the First Christmas.


The Animals. Why were they there?  What do they mean?  The answers are found in their eyes.

 

Cows.  Pigs.  Donkeys.  Horses.  Goats.  Chickens.  Mice.  Snakes.  Insects.  Who knows how many different types of animals were there?  The only thing we know for sure is that God dropped down in the middle of them…in the middle of all of creation.  The Christ event was initially defined…at least in part…by the animals.

Christ came for all of creation.  The animals leave no doubt about that.  Humans have claimed this event as only theirs for far too long.  The animals matter.  Salvation came for them too.

 

This is a supernatural natural event.  Too often we forget that nature is so important.  Christ was an outcast…born amongst a bunch of natural outcasts…animals.  Yet, the animals are the ones who share their space with him.  They offer their home.  Perhaps, it is the animals who first ushered Christ into their hearts.

 

The reason that we can’t understand all of this…the reason that all of this feels funny…is because we have been taught to think of animals as nothing more than property.  We think that animals are for our use.  We don’t often stop to think about what the animals are giving us.  The cosmic event of the nativity should cause us pause.  God is doing something different here.  God is showing us that all of creation matters.  The animals are at the forefront of God’s arrival…welcoming…loving…worshipping.  We’d be wise to pay attention to their hospitality.

 

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