God so loved the world. John 3:16
Every Christmas we decorate our home with nativity scenes from around the world. We have a German nativity pyramid, a manger scene fashioned out of olive wood from Bethlehem, and a brightly colored Mexican folk version. Our family favorite is a whimsical entry from Africa. Instead of the more traditional sheep and camels, a hippopotamus gazes contently at the baby Jesus.
The unique cultural perspective brought to life in these nativity scenes warms my heart as I ponder each beautiful reminder that Jesus’ birth was not just for one nation or culture. It’s good news for the whole earth, a reason for people from every country and ethnicity to rejoice.
The little baby depicted in each of our nativity scenes revealed this truth of God’s heart for the entire world. As John wrote in relation to Christ’s conversation with an inquisitive Pharisee named Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
The gift of Jesus is good news for everyone. No matter where on earth you call home, Jesus’ birth is God’s offer of love and peace to you. And all who find new life in Christ, “from every tribe and language and people and nation” will one day celebrate God’s glory forever and ever (Revelation 5:9).
In what unique ways do you celebrate the birth of Jesus? How might the reminder of God’s love for the whole world bring joy this Christmas season?
Father, thank You for providing salvation through the gift of Your Son.
Nicodemus is first mentioned in John 3:1. He was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish civil and judicial authority. The Sanhedrin was led by the high priest and consisted of seventy members: “the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law” (Mark 14:53). Nicodemus is mentioned again in John 7:45–52 and finally in John 19:38–42. Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man and another prominent member of the council, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body to be taken down from the cross. Nicodemus and Joseph embalmed His body and buried Him in a new tomb, which belonged to Joseph (Matthew 27:57–60; Mark 15:43; Luke 23:50–53).