I learn best when I can relate to what is being taught. If I understand how something applies to me, the lesson sinks in a little deeper. I found this about myself last Easter when I was drawn to what I could learn about the people who surrounded the Savior during His last week on the earth. I created the People of Easter Study Guide. This Christmas, I thought I’d like to study the Nativity in a similar way.
I created these images as a study help or quick reminder of the thoughts I had about each piece of the Nativity. I hope you like them! Please feel free to download whatever images you’d like. Here is a link to a PDF of small cards.
I Can Learn from the People in Bethlehem
The donkey that carried Mary – I imagine the long walk to Bethlehem carrying the mother of the Savior. The donkey is defined as a reliable helper, surefooted, and physically strong. It is a symbol of peace, of industry, and of humility.
Am I a reliable person? Am I sure footed in my values? Am I a peace maker? Am I humble?
The angel that announced the birth – The angel went to humble, regular people. They were in the right place, at the right time to receive the message and witness the heavenly hosts. The angel sang glory to God.
Am I humble enough to recognize a message from heaven? Do I sing glory to God?
The shepherds in the field – The shepherds were the humble, regular people who received the heavenly message. The shepherd can represent the Savior as the Good Shepherd. The Shepherd who knows His sheep and would give His life to save theirs.
How well do I know the Good Shepherd? Do I understand His role and follow Him?
The sheep in the field – The sheep of a fold know their shepherd. Even if they are mixed with other herds and shepherds, when their shepherd calls they instantly recognize his voice and follow him.
Do I know my Shepherd’s voice? Do I instantly recognize and follow Him?
The bright star – Of all things that could lead to where the Savior was born, it was a star. It was a clear symbol of the birth foretold by prophets. Without fail, the symbols of the Savior’s birth came to pass and gave the followers of God the signs they had faithfully waited for.
Do I recognize the signs of the Savior in my life? Do I see the blessings around me? Do I faithfully and patiently wait for the promises of God to be fulfilled?
The wise men from the east – The wise men were told to find the baby Jesus for King Herod, who wanted Him to be killed. The wise men traveled far to find Him. They recognized Him as the Savior and brought gifts that were symbols of His mission on earth. They worshiped Him and never betrayed Him to the king.
How much will I sacrifice to find and worship the Savior? Do my actions show my faith and love for Him?
The innkeepers – The innkeepers chose not to allow Joseph and Mary to stay in their inns because there were many people who could pay more for the space.
Do I let worldly things take space that should be for the Savior? How can I make more room for Him?
The people in Bethlehem – The town of Bethlehem was full of people who had come, like Joseph and Mary, to be taxed. Besides the visitors, there were those who already resided there. From all accounts, we know that Bethlehem was a crowded place at this particular time.
Do I notice people around me now whom I can serve? Do I sacrifice what I have to share with others? Do I give my time as often as I give my things?
The manger – The manger was just a regular shelter made for animals. I thought about how it went from being just a manger to being a home, a safe place for the Savior to be born and for Mary to rest. A home, at least for a short time.
Is my home a shelter from the world? Do we make space for the Savior in our home?
Joseph – An angel appeared to Joseph before he married Mary. He listened and followed the counsel he was given. Later, an angel visited again to warn him that the baby Jesus was in danger and what he should do to protect his family. Again, he listened and did as he was told.
Do I recognize messages from God? Am I showing gratitude to the angels around me who help me along? When my prayers are answered and messages are given, do I follow through?
Mary – Mary was chosen and found favor with God. She lived a life that made her the best choice to be the mother of Jesus. When she learned that she would be the mother of the Savior, she pondered what the angel had told her. And, then she rejoiced in God.
Am I living in a way that I can be God’s hands? Am I ready to live the life that would please God and bring me back to him? When I receive messages from heaven, do I ponder or forget them? No matter what is asked of me, do I rejoice?
Jesus – He was born as a vulnerable and completely dependent baby. He came to the earth in the most humble way, to humble parents who were doing the will of God. He came to the earth to live His life and give His life as the Savior of all mankind. He is the true Light, the Light that will never be lost to anyone who seeks it.
Am I humble? As a person, and as a parent, am I striving to do the will of God? Is the Light of Christ in my life? Do I share His light with others?