December 26, 2017

Born in the Shadow - Marnie Pohlmann

How did you celebrate this Christmas season?

Roast turkey?
Hang stockings?
Exchange gifts?
Gather with family and friends?
Do you decorate a Christmas tree?
What traditions do you do each year?
Do you watch Christmas movies like "Die Hard"?

Sometimes, especially for parents, the traditions of this season do not give rest like a holiday or vacation is supposed to, but rather expected practices may add to the stress and busyness to create perfect memories of those very traditions. Having a Merry Christmas can take a lot of work!

What did you do about Santa this season?
Do you have fun with Santa?
Leave out cookies and milk?
Did you give toys "from Santa"?
Make reindeer prints in the yard?

Years ago, one of my friends explained to her children that Santa got his "naughty and nice" list from Jesus because Santa is not omniscient (all-knowing); only God is omniscient.

I have an ornament made by the mom of another friend. Santa is bowing at the manger because even Santa knows the true meaning of Christmas.

How did you celebrate Christ this season?
Sing carols?
Read the Scripture story?
Attend a Christmas Eve mass?
Do you set up nativity scenes?

Are there ways you bring focus to the "reason of the season?"

Even trying to have a simple, quiet Christmas, I find my focus can be distracted by the shiny commercialism of our surroundings. It takes work to keep my eyes on God during regular days so the busyness of special times can make what seems like a simple celebration of the birth of Christ into something totally different.

How do you make your celebration
not Giftmas,
not Santamas,
not Feastmas,
not Familymas,
but a true CHRISTmas?

And even if you focus on the Christian believer's reason to celebrate this season, do you see more than a baby in a manger?

What does this baby mean to your life as a God-follower?

One year we dropped into another friend's home during the Christmas season. These friends did not set up a Christmas tree. Their focus was not on gifts. With nightly devotions, they lit menorah candles which shone through their window welcoming any who came by.

What caught me that year, though, was where they placed their nativity scene. The manger with baby Jesus was set at the base of a cross. We have placed a nativity set at the base of the cross at our church, as well. I'm not sure if others notice the poignancy of this scene, but seeing baby Jesus placed in the shadow of the cross that is His future, opened my eyes to why I celebrate this season.

The child
whose birth we observe
is the Messiah
who set aside his
to join humanity.
This child grew
to teach in the temple,
heal the sick,
welcome the lonely,
and die.

Today I try to celebrate this baby
with my eyes on the cross.
I honour this child who grew to become our Saviour.
I praise the Saviour who left the tomb empty
and my heart full.
I celebrate Christmas
because God came to be with us;
God came to redeem the world.
I share the Spirit of Christmas,
the Spirit of God,
who remains with us.
I anticipate Christ
Who will come again.

As you enjoy your gifts, your family, your feasts, and your traditions, 
take time to turn your eyes to the manger. 
Then lift them to the cross. 
Praise God  the babe in the manger
was born in the shadow of the cross.
Christ will come again
not to live among us
but to take us to live with God. 

This hope of eternity
brought by this baby in the manger
is worthy of celebration.

Marnie Pohlmann celebrates Christmas in Taylor, BC, pondering these things in her heart. She writes more on her blog, Phosphorescent, at 


  1. Lovely post. Merry Christmas

  2. Thank you Marnie ... the child who set aside His Divinity is the Hope worthy of our celebration and our devotion. This is the Good News for All ... it might take us a lifetime to grasp this.

  3. Thanks for this meaningful and inspiring post, Marnie. Beautiful poem too, Marnie.


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