Reflections on Christmas
By Maria Fontaine
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It’s Christmas Eve and I’m by myself for a couple of hours. Peter needed to go out to minister to some friends, so I’ve decided to spend this time in front of our small manger scene. I have lit some candles and there’s one very small lamp that is casting some light on the figures. Instrumental Christmas music is playing in the background.
I’m so happy Jesus gave me the idea to celebrate Him in this way. It’s a special privilege to take this time to praise Him for His inexplicable, incomprehensible, boundless love and sacrifice for us, and what it has led to in our lives. It’s also an opportunity to pray for God’s people all over the world—some celebrating in prison cells, some in their homes, and some in churches. Many celebrate in poverty and hunger, with not much to share with each other, but because they have Jesus in their hearts and faith in God, this time is very, very special to them.
I move the figurines of Joseph and Mary and the baby in the manger out of the stable and put them where I can see Jesus better, surrounded by the shepherds and the wise men and the cows and sheep.
In an attempt to make the scene more “real” for me, I adjust the lighting so there are areas of light fringed with darkness and shadow here and there. I try to imagine how it would have been with only a dim oil lamp burning for light and perhaps a small fire burning for warmth.
I think Jesus is very happy when we make time to reflect on Him. When we intentionally make a time to dwell on what He gave up and what He did for us, the awe and the wonder of it can sink deep into our hearts and stir us to praise God for the many ways that He has made us His, made us new, made us alive.
Realizing that I’m joining our Christian brethren in celebrating something that some are risking their lives to commemorate, I’m moved by their faith, their conviction, their love for Jesus that compels them to risk everything to show Him and others their thankfulness for His gift to them. I feel so honored to be a part of our huge worldwide family of faith. Together with them, as we wait in adoration and in prayer, we are being filled with His love, light, joy, and peace.
The wise men and shepherds experienced the presence of God on earth in the person of Jesus. They were filled with the passion and fire to go and spread the news to others, and we can feel His Spirit compelling us to do the same as it renews, rejuvenates, and revives us.
Everyone involved in that first Christmas was brought to our Lord’s side through supernatural signs, orchestrated from heaven. Even though the wise men were not there at the same time as the shepherds, including them in the manger scene creates the archetypical picture, summarizing the events surrounding His birth. It’s a beautiful symbolism of everyone, rich and poor, paying homage to the King of the universe.
Each chose to follow the heavenly guidance presented to them, including Mary and Joseph. For each one, it was a journey of faith. We today still have to believe by faith in the Word that has been given to us. We have to follow and obey, and to talk about our Savior with joy and confidence so that others can have a chance to make their own journey of faith to His side in spirit.
This baby in a manger in Bethlehem was a child destined to become the sacrificial Lamb of God, “without blemish and without spot,” to take away the sins of the world.1 He would become known as the “upholder and maintainer and guide, the heir of all things, the creator of the universe; the brightness and radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.”2
Paul in Colossians would call Him “the firstborn of every creature.”3 He would be revealed as the God of the whole earth,4 God manifested in the flesh5; Jehovah, mighty in battle6; the Almighty which is and which was and which is to come; the beginning and the end.7
Mary’s firstborn son was God incarnate, the same yesterday, today, and forever.8 From before the foundations of the earth, He was the Anointed.9 He came to earth as the Bread of Life that had come down from heaven,10 the true Light which was to lighten every man.11 He would be a strength to the poor, a help to the needy and distressed, and a refuge from the storm.12 He would be the only “sure foundation” and the “chief cornerstone,” our mediator and intercessor.13 This tiny baby who was the most precious gift God could ever give us had humbled Himself and would yet humble Himself through death on the cross.14
He came to bring peace. He came to bring healing. He came to bring hope. He is our beloved and our friend, our Savior and our example, our teacher and our deliverer, our refuge and our God.
“In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”—Hebrews 1:2–315
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”—Colossians 1:15–1716
“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”—2 Corinthians 9:1517
God bless you all! Peter and I wish you a very happy Christmas!
Originally published December 2016. Adapted and republished December 2019.
Read by Irene Quiti Vera.
1 John 1:29; Revelation 5:6, 9; 1 Peter 1:18–20.
2 Hebrews 1:2–3.
3 Colossians 1:15–17
4 Isaiah 54:5.
5 John 1:14.
6 Psalm 24:8.
7 Revelation 1:8.
8 Hebrews 13:8.
9 John 17:24; 1 Peter 1:19–20.
10 John 6:51.
11 John 1:9.
12 Isaiah 25:4.
13 Ephesians 2:20; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25.
14 Philippians 2:8.