calendar December 9, 2019 in Communications

The Search for Baby Jesus

Elise Seyfried “felt strongly about emphasizing Jesus’ humanity” when she started her job as director of spiritual formation at Christ’s Lutheran Church, Oreland, in 2002. The congregation was used to a pageant featuring a pink, plastic baby Jesus.

“I decided to take a chance and add an element of surprise: a real baby. A possibly fussy, possibly dirty-diapered baby,” she writes in the December issue of Living Lutheran. “What could go wrong?”

Nothing, it turns out. And, she writes, “over the years, our Jesus has been African American, half-Taiwanese, male, female, 4 weeks old and 4 months old. … We’ve welcomed quite a few small Catholics into the pageant, and I have no qualms about presenting Jesus from a variety of faith traditions.

“Our congregation, to my delight, adjusted to the pageant change quickly and has wholeheartedly welcomed each and every baby as a more-than acceptable stand-in for the Holy Infant.

“What does God look like? Our answer: God looks like any of us—and all of us—whatever our gender, race or nationality.

“And maybe by seeing baby Jesus portrayed by so many different infants from year to year, our congregation better understands the universality intended by God—a God who came to earth to be one of us, no matter what we look and sound like, and who came to save us all.”


Originally published in the December 2019 issue of Living Lutheran magazine. Reprinted by permission.