I Hate Nativity Scenes

Perhaps hate is too strong a word.  I have historically disliked and been annoyed by nativity scenes.  This may sound particularly strange coming from a Christian minister.  And, to be truthful, my very dislike for these scenes as disturbed me.

I love Christmas.  As I posted a while back, the very reason I love Christmas so is not the decorations, songs, visiting with family (though I love these things as well), but the very person of Christ.  Why then, if Christ’s coming is so very important to me, do I dislike nativity scenes.

Today Noel Piper (Pastor John Piper’s wife) had a great post on the Desiring God blog.

…I realized how often Jesus is portrayed fair and blond, which he most likely wasn’t. Now I look for figures with darker skin and hair or made from a material like wood or clay that doesn’t show skin tone.

That’s it!  It’s not the scenes themselves that bug me, it’s how cheesy or culturally and historically inaccurate many of them tend to be.  Now that I think back on it, there have been a few that have moved me. They have all been either neutral in tone (wood, stone, clay etc.) or darker in complexion.

I like how Noel ends her post:

I want my decorations and celebration to reflect the truth that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, of all peoples.

I’ve been thinking about ways to make the celebration of Jesus arrival in this terrestrial sphere more central in our family’s Christmas celebration.  I think I just might start looking for good nativity scenes to take central stage in our Christmas decorations.

4 thoughts on “I Hate Nativity Scenes

  1. Interesting — I get grief from others when I voice my own discomfort with the inaccuracy of modern-day nativity scenes. Having the shepherds, wise men, etc., in a stable, all crowded around a cute caucasian baby when virtually everything in the scene is total fantasy.

    But would an accurate nativity scene sell?

    No.

    Truth is hard — and it’s difficult to market.

  2. It’s funny, but I don’t mind as much the Three Kings being there as I do the skin tone and facial features of the holy family. I suppose an historically accurate portrayal would have the shepherds, but no Wise Men.

    The Willow Tree figurines have a nativity set that is darker in color. I may take a gander at our local retailer.

  3. It’s the three kings that bother me. We always put them in another place in the house and let them be traveling. One thing you might notice about many Nativity scenes is how much the baby looks like a little old man. We don’t add the baby until Christmas, so he isn’t there very long. Have you seen any of then sets mad from wood from Israel. They’re pretty simple and it’s kind of a nice statement. Anyway…

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