Those playing an important role but not in the photo include the following:
Isaiah, who had been dead for hundreds of years before Jesus was born, can be excused from the photo shoot, of course, but Isaiah should be remembered when reviewing the story because his role was an impressive one, indeed. Maybe we could put his face in one of the cloud-like hazes up in the corner of the photo? Okay, so what did he do? He had a job I would not have wanted but I am so glad that he was willing to be sent to give the words God had for the people. He would prepare them to readjust their thinking about the entrance of the Messiah to planet earth. One mention probably caused some raised eyebrows, for sure.
Isaiah Chapter 7, verse 14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Uh, well, we’ve never seen that before so maybe there will be something really special about this boy, they thought. Or, equally as likely, they figured Isaiah had missed part of the communication scripted for him. How could such a thing happen! On the other hand, Emanuel means “God with us” so even the name draws our attention to God’s plan. Next Isaiah gives a bit more detail.
Okay, so the Messiah will not just show up on the scene as a full-grown man and take charge of things; he will grow up from a child but he will be a prince, then, since he is going to sit on the throne of King David. Yes, Isaiah’s prophetic words began to sound really good to the people,
Chapter 9 verses 6-7: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”
Now that was exactly what the people were waiting for! So why would I not like to be the one delivering such a message of hope in their time of trouble? Well, because the fulfillment of those words did not come for more than four hundred years so those who doubted Isaiah and, probably, made fun of him about the virgin birth thing, never lived to see that what Isaiah had said was exactly what happened! Sure, Isaiah knew the truth in his heart but he would be on the other side of Heaven before he would be able to release that contented smile of knowing he had not mistaken what the Lord had asked him to say.
Elizabeth and Zechariah should be in the picture, perhaps over to the left of Mary and Joseph. That way their six-month-old John could be captured looking down at the Baby Jesus from the arms of his own elderly father, a respected priest. Elizabeth. Mary’s cousin, was the very first of her relatives to know about the pregnancy and wasn’t it Elizabeth who had encouraged Mary those first three months as she waited for her own delivery date to come along? Besides, the Holy Scriptures said that John would be the one charged with letting people know that Jesus would come to save them from their sins. Surely, Little John should be in the Christmas family photo.
Now, as to those who are in the Nativity portrait…
****Christmas: The People, Conclusion… Coming Tomorrow