While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
A Christmas Icon
This picture of the Christmas story is called an icon. Icons come from Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The Orthodox believe icons have sacramental meaning like baptism and communion. If the Bible is God’s Word in black and white; icons are God’s Word in color. Icons are windows into the heart of God.
Refer to the icon as I describe the story being told.
- In the upper left corner are the angels who sing the praises of Jesus’ birth.
- In the upper right corner is an angel telling a shepherd about the birth of Jesus.
- In the lower left corner is Joseph, sitting on a rock, being tempted by a demon to doubt the miraculous pregnancy of Mary and to divorce her.
- Mary, in the middle, is watching the struggle between Joseph and the demon.
- The three wise men are left of the newborn Jesus bringing gifts.
The wise men on the left and the shepherd in the upper right represent different ways people come to believe in Christ. The shepherd comes in simple faith upon hearing the good news. The wise men come after a long journey and after much study of the stars and scriptures. Both simple believing and intellectual discipline are affirmed as ways to come to know Christ.
- In the lower right corner is John the Baptizer pointing to the Messiah. John will prepare the way for the Christ child to be introduced to the world.
- And in the middle is Jesus, the source of all the stories and energy happening around him. Jesus is wrapped in bands of cloth in a cave; theologically linking the saving birth of Jesus to the saving death of Jesus.
All of this and more is happening when you gaze at this Christmas icon. Gazing at an icon is a way to visually listen to the Christmas story and experience
Bless the eyes of our hearts to see Christ born in our lives.
Written by Pastor Eric Bostrom
Pastor Eric has served the Sheridan family since July 2012 and works in the areas of pastoral care and adult education. After service in the Marine Corps and Naval Reserve, he graduated from Midland University in Fremont, NE and Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH. Before coming to Sheridan, he served a