Pashtun shepherds watch over their sheep. Photo Courtesy of National Geographic
This past weekend we had the chance to watch our kids perform in our church’s Christmas pageant. It was fun to watch the children dress up in their Christmas best with other kids dressed as angels, wisemen, and shepherds. In fact, if you’ve spent any time around the church, you are probably pretty familiar with these images. For myself, the image of the Nativity has become a pretty standard Christmas image, with Mary and Joseph kneeling near the Christ child, with handsome looking shepherds, cuddly lambs, and wisemen looking on in reverence.
However, as I have thought about this story some more, something really stands out to me. In most, if not all, of these Nativity images the people included all look pretty good. The shepherds are well dressed and clean. Mary and Joseph’s robes are neatly pressed and colorful. Even newborn Jesus looks like he popped out of the womb with a full head of hair looking like a three-year-old. And this has really forced me to ask the question, “Who is Christmas for? Is it for the cleaned up and presentable?”