The idea of Jesus in a manger is a cute one; a ‘helpless babe’ actually holding the universe in his hands. In the word of Michael Card: more than you can see; give up on your ponderings and fall down on your knees.
Okay, but more powerful still, much more meaningful in its fullness and completeness: not Christ on the cross (again, awesome and worthy of our deepest and best reflection, and NOT absolved by recent flagship statements and theologising, I don’t believe), but rather Jesus Christ our Lord ‘declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.’ (Romans 1:4)
It’s the resurrection from the dead that fills me with whoops and joy, with YES! And with a direction for the rest of my life. Unless a seed dies and falls into the ground it remains alone. I do not want to remain alone; I want to bear much fruit in this life. I would never have dared to do it, if I were not following, however, feebly (and pehaps unrecognisably) in the steps of Jesus, who has gone before in everything.
Do you ever worry about something you’ve done, and think – I must have really sinned there, and confess it to God, even though it seems foolish? Ignatius has a note on scruples: a true scruple is being disturbed about something you have done, doubting and not doubting, that it is a sin. It has something of the enemy in it. A scruple CAN be good, separating yourself from even the appearance of sin. But do you have a coarse or a sensitive conscience? If coarse, you do not recognise even serious sins – then the devil will try to coarsen your conscience still further. If sensitive, the devil will make you see sin where there is none.
Always go in the opposite way to the devil: instead of thinking about yourself, raise your understanding to the Lord and see if what is being proposed is for His glory or not. If Jesus put the devil to flight, then in His strength and under His covering we can do the same.