By: Steve Negley

Posted: December 15, 2023

Category: Daily Devotional

Lenox Excerpt

Although the Scripture does not mention specific individuals other than the shepherds who came to the stable to see the3 Newborn Babe, we know from Luke’s Gospel that the shepherds told everyone the met about the wonderful event. It is easy to assume that these people, too, came to see the Baby Jesus for themselves. Consequently, throughout history, ordinary townspeople have been included as part of the Nativity scene.

The figures portrayed in your Townspeople of Bethlehem represent those who came to bow before the Infant King. And each sculpture conveys a symbolism of its own.

The Fisherman is, perhaps, one of the most symbolic figures in the Nativity tableau. His trade is that of the friends and disciples who would one day follow the grown Jesus, who would call them “fishers of men.” One of Christ’s many miracles involved the dividing of two fish among five thousand people. And a simple drawing of a fish was a means by which early Christians identified themselves to each other. This symbol was probably chosen because the letters of the Greek word of fish (ichthos) formed an acrostic that could be read as “Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Savior.”

Another figure is The Dove Seller, bringing a gentle dove as a gift to the Baby. The dove is the first bird mentioned in the Bible, in the story of Noah and the Ark. Because of its role in this story, the dove has become a symbol of peace and reconciliation, After the birth of a child, the mother was to bring a lamb and a dove to the Temple as an offering, or, if she were poor, just two doves. This practice led to the dove being regarded as a symbol of purity. Additionally, the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit, is often symbolized as a dove.

The rich and the poor from all walks of life had reason to rejoice on the night of that first Christmas. Your Townspeople of Bethlehem figures beautifully represent this varied multitude.


Let us be conscious, O God, of the holy presence of Christ among our neighbors and friends in our town. And let us join the throngs who still make our way to the stable to worship the newborn King. Amen.