Christmas 2023

Gospel of Matthew 2, 10 + 11


When the wise men saw the star, they were overjoyed. They came to the house, and they found the Child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


Dear Readers,


I would like to send you Christmas greetings by presenting three stamps. They are about worship and joy! The British 13p stamp shows us what joy means. Young parents happily looking at their baby. I can well imagine that it was the same for Mary and Joseph back then in Bethlehem. Even today, parents somewhere in the Middle East could rejoice at the birth of their child, like on the stamp. Isn´t it always like that when parents are happy about the child they are holding in their arms? 


The Spanish stamp takes the viewer into the Gospel of Matthew. It shows the wise men or magi visiting Jesus. Jesus is enthroned on the lap of his mother Mary. One of the wise men falls to his knees in worship before Jesus. Jesus is depicted in this painting as the blessing Christ.


The American Christmas stamp has a completely different motif. It shows George Washington kneeling in prayer. Valley Forge was the name of the camp where George Washington camped with his army in the winter of 1777/78 during the American War of Independence. Many soldiers died because of hunger, cold and disease. George Washington, then commander-in-chief of the army, kneels and prays.


Did you ever pray down on your knees? Praying on your knees is a gesture of humility and worship. Many people around the world still do this today, showing their inner attitude towards God. 


Those who kneel cannot run away quickly. They stay. They want to stay. That is what Christmas is all about. We should take time for the Lord Jesus Christ. Worship needs time. For many people the time before Christmas can be a time of restlessness. The countless preparations for Christmas can sap strength and nerves. These Christmas stamps are a reminder to me of what Christmas really means: it's about worshipping the Messiah Jesus. It is about taking time to encounter Jesus Christ. Worship needs time, it also needs outer peace. We cannot find inner peace if we are distracted by external unrest.


God becomes man and comes into this world as a child. The wise men (or astrologers) sought the Messiah in Jerusalem and then found him in Bethlehem. They worshipped Jesus, the Christ, and humbly fell to their knees before him. Those who go to Jesus Christ in worship may also show the attitude of their heart in this gesture of humility. Those who fold their hands in adoration and bow their knees before Jesus Christ will be given the gift of peace and joy in the Holy Spirit by Jesus, the Prince of Peace.


I wish you these moments of happiness in the presence of God. Rejoice at the birth of Jesus Christ like the men from the Orient did back then, many years ago. These men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What could you bring? A humble heart? Your own longing for peace? Or simply your empty hands? We can always come to God with empty hands!


Perhaps you feel like George Washington in the middle of the war, surrounded by violence and great misery. Of course, I don't know what he prayed for. May be for peace? Peace can begin within us, where we humbly seek Jesus Christ in worship. I am convinced that our world would be a different place if some of the leaders would bow their knees before the Almighty God. Our little world will be different if you and I give Jesus Christ all the glory. Those who fold their hands in worship stop fighting their fellow human beings. They allow their empty hands to be filled with the love of God. When we pass on this love, we spread peace and joy to our fellow human beings.  


May the merciful and gracious God bless your Christmas Time. May He fill your heart with His peace and joy. I look forward to seeing you again at the beginning of January. Until then, I wish you God's blessing and protection in spirit, soul, and body through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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© 2023 Hans-Peter Nann