Best wishes to all my readers for a very happy Christmas!

(Emphases mine below.)

John 1:1-17 (King James Version)

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2The same was in the beginning with God.

3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.*

7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

15John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

16And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

* John the Baptist

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A word about the artwork

The painting above dates from 1622.  It is called Adoration of the ShepherdsGerard (Gerrit) van Honthorst, a Dutch Golden Age painter, studied in Italy and took his influences from Caravaggio’s use of chiaroscuro, as you can see from the way the light plays on the Holy Family and the shepherds.

Wikipedia tells us:

Returning home in about 1620, after acquiring a considerable practice in Rome, he set up a flourishing school in Utrecht. Together with his colleague Hendrick ter Brugghen, he represented the so-called Dutch Caravaggisti. In 1623 he was president of the Guild of St. Luke in Utrecht, when he also married. He soon became so fashionable that Sir Dudley Carleton, then English envoy at The Hague, recommended his works to the Earl of Arundel and Lord Dorchester. In 1626 he hosted a dinner for Rubens …

He then lived in England for some years under the patronage of Charles I, where he was much acclaimed.  When he returned to Utrecht, his reputation as an artist continued to bring him commissioned portraits by and of the aristocracy.  Yet, he also painted more everyday subjects, one of his best known works being The Matchmaker (1625).

You can see another Northern European nativity painting in my 2009 Christmas post.