It shouldn’t surprise anyone that an organization devoted to marriage, family, life, and religious liberty would put up a Nativity in the State Capitol at Christmas. As we set up our nativity display at the Capitol earlier this month, I was struck by how very much our organization’s mission is in keeping with what the Nativity depicts. The Nativity, the heart of the Christmas story and a reflection of the heart of God, is all about marriage, family, life, and religious liberty.
We know how the angel came to the young virgin Mary and told her she was going to have a baby—a very special baby, the Messiah. Mary was betrothed to Joseph, and Joseph finding out his fiancé was pregnant, nearly panicked, since the evidence was that Mary had been unfaithful to him, a crime punishable by death. However, another angelic appearance let Joseph know Mary had not been unfaithful, and he should not be afraid but should go ahead and wed Mary because the Babe she was carrying was Immanuel.
According to the story, Joseph married Mary before Jesus was born—so Mary was listed as His earthly mother and Joseph legitimately listed as His earthly father. Marriage and family were important to God in this story and important for the example it sets. God wanted His Son to have the very best in family life as He grew up and lived here on Earth.
Our Nativity display with a very prominent Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus reminds us of that natural family unit as God designed it for His glory and mankind’s good. It reminds us of the strength of that family unit, of the importance of children having a married mother and father, of the necessity of providing a birth right, safety, security, spiritual guidance, and the transmission of values and beliefs that help children grow up to be all that God wants them to be.
The last piece to be put in place was the Baby Jesus. As this happened, I could not help but think about those who had devoted themselves to destroying this baby. Fortunately, Mary was protected and as far as we know, had no one counseling her to abort her baby. But within a year or so of this Baby’s birth, King Herod set out to kill all Jewish boy babies two and under—because he had heard that a baby had been born who people were saying was a king.
This Baby was a threat to his power, prestige, plans, and position. For Herod, the answer was to massacre babies. How tragic that today so many women in crisis pregnancies, listen to those who tell them that this isn’t a baby—it’s just a blob of tissue, a fetus, an embryo. And then because something in their life is threatened by having a baby, they follow Herod and destroy the baby. Praise God for another Angel who told Joseph to take his little family and flee to Egypt until Herod died. Perhaps those who today stand outside abortion facilities praying and counseling are rather “angel-like” in their message and mission as they urge women to reconsider and allow the baby to live.
Finally, liberty. The Christ-Child came to set the captive free. In His salvation we have true liberty. But ironically, at the time of His birth most of the then-known world was not free. It was living under the hobnail boot of the Roman Empire. Yet, within this foreign government that was doing its best to subjugate the Jewish people in their own homeland, God set in motion His plan of deliverance, of liberty, that would some 33 years later culminate in the sacrificial death of the One Whose birth we celebrate—a death carried out by those who enslaved people rather than liberated them. But God’s plan could not be thwarted, and 3 days later, Christ arose victorious over death, hell, and the grave.
So it is with us in 21st Century America. While our liberties seem threatened and our future uncertain, we must take heart. The God Who planned the human birth of His Son and Who sent Him to Calvary and then raised Him from the dead is still in control everywhere and at all times—and nothing and no one will thwart His plan--ever.
Yes, for Wisconsin Family Council and Wisconsin Family Action to put up a Nativity in the State Capitol as a silent testimony to the Truth of Christmas and a proclamation of a message of Hope is the most natural thing in the world. We say with the songwriter of old, “Joy to the World! The Lord is Come!”
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
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