Check Your Nativity

December 21, 2022

2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

One of my favorite Christmas memories is of our oldest son, Blake, when he was a toddler. We had a nativity scene that was part of our Christmas decorations. It was not breakable, so Blake played with this new “toy.” I had (what I thought) was a major parenting win when I explained to Blake who baby Jesus was and what He did for all of us. I explained to Blake that Jesus was our Savior, the Prince of Peace, and all things we find in the Christmas story. And yes, I was basking in all my glory as a parent!

Later that day, I noticed Jesus was not in the manger. In fact, he was missing completely from the nativity. I asked Blake where Jesus might be. Without missing a beat, he informed me that Jesus was in timeout! Ummm, what? I guess Blake did not quite understand that the Prince of Peace would not ever be in time-out? Blake informed me that Jesus had “hit a friend” and he had to put Jesus in timeout. Needless to say, we located Jesus and put Him back in His rightful place in the manger. Sorry about that, Jesus!

What I thought was a toddler mistake might actually have some truth to it. I often put Jesus in timeout during Christmas too. I am so busy and stressed about all the things that come with the holiday season that I don’t always include Jesus in my Christmas plans. I keep Jesus in timeout and wonder why I feel robbed of my peace.

Paul reminds us that the Lord is peace himself (2 Thessalonians 3:16). Wow! He is peace. In fact, peace means freedom from disturbance. When we are experiencing peace, we are free from the disturbance of stress. Peace brings freedom. Freedom from the anxiety that often accompanies circumstances and situations that are out of our control. And Paul goes on to speak into all the places we need peace “at all times in every way.” This covers anything we are struggling with right now. His presence, the Lord Himself, brings peace into our circumstances, at Christmas and beyond.

Where are you being robbed of peace because Jesus is in timeout? He is peace, and He will grant us freedom through His presence this Christmas season. Check your nativity scene! Make sure Jesus is there.

Amy Smallwood