Advent worship team devotional. Part 1 – The reality of the nativity

Advent worship team devotional. Part 1 – The reality of the nativity


This worship team devotional is part of a four-week series that takes excerpts from The Taming of Christmas written by Jon Nicol. Each devotional contains a brief scripture reading and discussion questions and is designed for use during the Advent season.

The Messiness of Christmas, Part 1: The Reality of the Nativity

We like the Christmas story, because we like the baby Jesus. Babies cause us to be sentimental. Babies are cute. Babies are loveable. And babies are safe. The most pious among us may scorn the idea of baby Jesus being represented as furry woodland creature or a child’s play toy. But our notion of the Incarnate Deity isn’t too far away from that.

We talk about the stable and the manger, with the fresh bed of hay and the company of quiet animals. But we forget that a stable is a barn. And a manger is a feeding trough. And we forget to mention in our stories of the nativity that farm animals stink.

Jesus was born in a mess.

We also talk about Mary and Joseph and the good people that they were. And they were good people. But would we have thought so had we been their neighbors?

“She’s pregnant.”
“She’s what?!”
“That’s right, and I heard it isn’t even Joseph’s.”
“Well, I never…”

We forget that the stable is a barn, the manger is a feeding trough, and the young Virgin Mary carrying the Son of God in her womb looks suspiciously like a pregnant teenager. Frowned upon in our day, punishable by death in her’s. Not only was Jesus born in a mess; he was born into a messy situation.

Read: Matthew 1:18-24

What are some ways churches hide, or at least overlook, the “reality of the Nativity” during the Christmas season? Are we guilty of this? Why or why not?

Is the “reality of the Nativity” important to our worship of Jesus? Why, or why not?

As a worship team, what can we do to appropriately communicate the “reality of the Nativity”?


Jon Nicol is a worship pastor in Ohio and has developed a site for worship leaders, teams and musicians called Jon’s ebook, The Taming of Christmas, is available as a single-copy or as church-licensed copy, which allows you to distribute copies to your local church.