Episode 1 introduces our hero: Will. He is our everyman. He’s desperate to belong, but he can never gain the acceptance he craves. We relate to Will because we all want to be accepted — embraced at the heart of a loving community. Somehow, though, Will’s charms fall short and his efforts seem wasted.
For Will, the magical turn comes when he meets the nativity. There he finds an instant welcome. Though he is the most ridiculous outsider he finds that he belongs with this family. Though he has nothing, he is given everything. In fact because he has nothing, his empty hands are the perfect resting place for Jesus.
Meet the Nativity is based on an old apocryphal tale — that of the shepherd who shows up to the nativity gift-less. He feels his lack very keenly. He is outshone by the opulent presents of the wise men and, dejected, he is about to leave when he notices that there’s a problem. Joseph has his arms full — what with the gold and the frankincense. The third wise man wants to give Mary the myrrh, but her hands are full with her precious firstborn. She needs to offload the baby. Who then is fit to receive Jesus? Wonderfully, she moves towards the empty-handed outsider. Precisely because he is empty, he is filled. With nothing to bring instead he receives Christ, the true Christmas gift.
Isaiah 9:6 says “To us a child is born, to us a son is given.” This present is offered to “a people walking in darkness” (Isaiah 9:2). To those who have nothing — and who know that they have nothing — Christ becomes our everything.
You may feel that you don’t belong, not in earthly families, and not in God’s family either. Christmas is God’s welcome. God the Son became God our brother to bring us home. We bring nothing to the table. Our offerings are as ridiculous as a mince pie wrapper. Worse, we bring sin and selfishness. But that’s why he came. And in return he offers himself.
This Christmas bring your emptiness and receive God’s fullness. Here is a family where anyone can belong.