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Jesus is from my tribe

Alvin Strong shares his favorite Nativity

Jesus is from my tribe

One of my favorite creche ‘stories’ comes from a ‘Friends of the Creche’ convention.  The artist, Mohammed Amin from Ghana, was describing his creche to me.  As per the first picture, there are many characters in his creche.

He explained that there are several major tribes in Ghana and that he had represented all of the major tribes in his creche figures.  I went through his characters, the singers, musicians, shepherds and wise men asking about each of their tribal identities.  

Finally, I got to the Holy family and asked which tribe Mary was representing and he said, ‘My tribe’.  I then asked about Joseph and he looked at me as though the answer was patently obvious and said ‘My tribe’.  Finally, I asked about baby Jesus and he looked at me curiously and responded ‘My tribe’.

I think there was great theology in those statements.  Jesus is always from my tribe.  Jesus said that ‘Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister’ (Matthew 12:50).  Paul tells us that ‘if we belong to Christ, we are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’ (Galatians 3:29).   And from Hebrews 2:11, we know that ’Now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters’.  Finally in Romans 8:14-17 we have the assurance that if we are led by the Spirit of God, we are the children of God, and since we are His children we are heirs of God, and even ‘joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together’.  Yes, Jesus is always from my tribe.

I am always delighted to see Jesus depicted as native to the artist’s culture.

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