Illuminating Advent & Christmas: The Birth of Christ • Meditating

On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature one of the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.



The Birth of Christ
Luke 2:1-20

Birth of Christ, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Birth of Christ, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


The world-wide event of taxation reeks of legalism. It starkly contrasts the angel’s world-wide declaration of good news for all the people. In the midst of a human invention, a divine exclamation vibrates in the ears of the universe, reverberating throughout all of history—Jesus Christ is born!

The human decree is bland; the angel’s decree is glorious. The glory of the Lord almost acts as another character in the story. At first, it terrifies us. Why? Is it because the closer we get to the glory of the Lord, the more we see our deficiencies, weaknesses and vulnerability?

The second mention of glory is as praise. We say we are to give glory to God, but God is not dependent on us for his glory. If he has all the glory, which he does, how can we give him more? As C.S. Lewis said, “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”

We do not glorify God for his sake but for ours. We glorify God when we recognize that the only one who is worthy of praise knows our name and seeks us out. When that sinks in, our hearts overflow with joy and hope. I wonder if joy and hope aren’t relatives of glory. Each produces the other and all three are due to and because of God.


Laurie E. Neill is a pastor at First Lutheran Church in Fargo, ND. She graduated from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN in 2012. Prior to ordination, she worked as a lay pastor at The Lutheran Church of Christ the King in Moorhead, MN. She became “hooked” on The Saint John’s Bible during the Praying with Imagination retreat this past summer.


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