I recently had some time to relax in quiet solitude, and I decided to spend it sitting in front of our small manger scene. I lit some candles and one small lamp and listened to instrumental Christmas music playing in the background.

I’m so blessed to be able to celebrate Jesus in this way and thank Him for His inexplicable, incomprehensible, boundless love and sacrifice for me, and what it has led to in my life and the lives of others. It’s also an opportunity to pray for God’s people all over the world, many of whom celebrate in poverty and hunger.

The poor can relate to how Jesus was born under very poor circumstances. They see a God who understands them, who—even though He is the King of the universe—came in human flesh to their weary, pain-filled world because He loves and cares. Those of us who are more fortunate can relate as well. The wise men were also welcomed by the Christ Child, as God opens His arms to all who will come.

When we take time to dwell on what Jesus gave up and reflect on what He did for us, the awe and the wonder of it can sink deep into our hearts and stir us to thank Him for the many ways that He has made us His, made us new, made us alive.

Everyone involved in that first Christmas was brought to our Lord’s side through supernatural signs orchestrated from heaven. Even though the wise men likely weren’t there at the same time as the shepherds, including them in the manger scene is a beautiful symbolism of everyone, rich and poor, paying homage to the King of the universe.

This baby, who people at the time would have known as simply Mary’s firstborn son, was in fact God incarnate, the same yesterday, today, and forever. He came to earth to be a strength to the poor, a help to the needy and distressed, and a refuge from the storm. In the midst of so much turmoil, He came to bring peace. In the midst of so much pain, He came to bring healing. In the midst of so much despair, He came to bring hope. He is our best Friend, our Savior, and our Role Model, our Teacher and our Deliverer, our Refuge and our God.