December 2011 Prayer and Reflection
From the December 2011 cover of Living with Christ
By Living with Christ Staff
Inspired by the art of the great Italian Baroque painter Caravaggio, Matthias Stomer (c. 1600–p. 1650) drew upon Caravaggio’s masterful use of chiaroscuro, using a single light source to throw light on the figures against a dramatically dark backdrop. In The Adoration of the Shepherds, Stomer has gathered the familiar gospel characters around the newborn Jesus, whose radiance unites the unlikely group in an intimate portrait of both surprise and veneration.
Imagine that you are Joseph, silently observing this wondrous scene. You see the deep love in Mary’s eyes. You marvel at how the rustic, peasant features of the shepherds have been transformed by the brilliance of the tiny, innocent child. You see the joy, astonishment, and reverence on their faces as they contemplate the meaning of the birth of this infant to whom they were led by choirs of angels. Truly this is no ordinary child!
If you wish, sit quietly with the picture, and reflect on the following questions:
- What do I think Joseph is feeling as he looks upon this scene?
- Which of the three shepherds captures my imagination? Why?
- What does Jesus’ birth mean for me today?
- What do I want to ask of this divine child?