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Nativity Scenes—2016 Versions

Throughout history, the Christmas story has been a popular subject for artists, often with a focus on the most iconic of Bethlehem imagery: the sheep, donkeys, manger, wise men, angels, and star. In recent years, however, the internet has helped spread the creativity of some modern day "artists" who have put their own twists on the classic manger scene. Christian author Mark Oestrelcher compiles an annual list of his favorite nativity scenes on his blog, with the 2016 edition including a bacon nativity, zombie nativity, mermaid nativity, and by far the most popular from this year: a Hipster Nativity (complete with Starbucks, selfies, Segways, Amazon.com, and organic livestock). Oestrelcher says he used to be bothered by the apparent disrespect toward the sacredness of the holiday, but has learned to see these displays of creativity as "whimsical attempts for people to engage in a mystery."

Potential Preaching Angles: Whether or not you would put a zombie nativity on your church's front lawn this Christmas season, imagining the nativity scene and the characters of the Christmas story with a modern context can prove to be a valuable exercise. In fact, it can help convey the profound truth that Jesus' birth was not just for first century Jews - it is for all of us.

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