I have been looking for a Nativity set for our home for the last 2 years at Christmas time. To me, this is an essential part of Christmas decor. I won’t say who, but someone broke a wise man and also baby Jesus himself when the glass nativity set I owned previously got put in storage 3 years ago.
Two Decembers of on-line and store shopping later, I have not found the perfect set to replace the broken one. But I have found a disturbing trend. For some reason, a lot of the nativity sets available nowadays seem to lack shepherds. It’s strange! I can find dozens of sets online that are either just the Holy Family (Mary, Joseph, Jesus), or include those three, and the wise men. Maybe and angel, or even maybe some livestock, but no shepherds.
All of these are for sale on Amazon right now:
(all photos via Amazon.com)
Now, I am not one to get all worked abut these things generally. But I do think it’s very strange, because in the First Christmas tale, the shepherds are supposed to represent the common men. They represent all of us, at our most normal selves.
The shepherds are the average people without advanced gifts, or knowledge, or wealth. They were not celebrities, politicians, or wealthy people, who might have been expected to be notified of a big event. They were not the super-spiritual priests, praying in the temples. They were not the scholars, watching the events of the day and the signs of the times, making predictions. They are workers, going about their daily routines, without a lot of glamour.
And yet, God sent an angel to them to announce the birth of Christ to them,and to bring them to see him. (Notice no one else in the story gets a personal angel invitation to the miracle. God reserved his big announcement for the 99%) I think that’s a pretty powerful part of the story!
Obviously, the baby, the wise men, and the angel make for more glamorous figurine (and figurines). But I sort of think leaving out the shepherds is missing the point.
For unto “us” a child is born!
Well, the “us” in the Christmas story need a little more representation in the Christmas decor options this year. I am off to find some shepherds!