Craig A. Evans delivered a sermon on Mark 2:1-12 at New Minas Baptist Church as part of a series titled, “Christmas in Question”. He addresses the historicity of the person of Jesus, the reliability of the Gospels, what this text says about Jesus, and how we should think about Jesus in a world where novel ideas about his person swirl about us every day.
You can listen to it here.
Merry, Blessed, and Holy Christmas to you, your family, and loved ones! For your thoughtful pleasure, I submit this excerpt from St. Teresa of Avila on the humanity of Jesus Christ:
With so good a Friend and Captain ever present, Himself the first to suffer, everything can be borne. He helps, He strengthens, He never fails, He is the true Friend. I see clearly, and since then have always seen, that if we are to please God, and if He is to give us His great graces, everything must pass through the hands of His most Sacred Humanity, in whom His Majesty said that He is well pleased. (The Life of St. Teresa of Avila [New York: Cosimo], ch. 22, sec. 9, p. 160)
It’s that time of the year. As I’m getting ready to go to the mall, I asking myself, “Why Christmas?”
Christmas is no longer Christ-centered. Rather, it is now human-centered. It’s what in it for me. You know, the gifts, the money I can make and so on.
The Christ-Child has been replaced.
Our carols and Christmas songs are simply bland and mostly meaningless.
We simply sing along, without pay any attention to the reason behind Christmas.
But we must redeem Christmas. We must make it Christ-centered once again. We must pay attention to what we sing. We must honor Christ in our singing, in our gift-given, and in all we do.
Below are a few steps to help you redeem this Christmas and every other one from now on:
1. Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle your love for Jesus and to make him the sole focus of all you do this Christ.
2. Read and Meditate. Read Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth over and over again (Luke 2:8-20). Refresh your mind and heart with the wonders of this great narrative of Scripture, preserved for us by the Holy Spirit. Meditate on the passage. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide and tutor.
3. Commune. I believe Christmas day, when we celebrate the birth of the Christ, is a perfect time to feed on his body and blood, through the consecrated elements of the bread and the cup. It is a perfect time to receive the grace and blessings of God through Communion.
4. Share. Be Christlike this Christmas. Share. Yes, do something for someone in need. Find out how you can bless someone this Christmas, perhaps at your workplace, in your neighborhood, or even at the store or the mall.
Yes, I believe we can redeem the spirit of Christmas and join the heavenly host and truly praise God and say,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those
with whom he is pleased.” (Luke 2:14 ESV)
A couple days ago I realized that I don’t think I’ve heard anyone preach on Revelation 12 around Advent or Christmas time. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t present for such a sermon, but I don’t remember one, and I’ve been hearing sermons in Christmas for two and a half decades.
Have you ever heard someone preach on Revelation 12 with the woman, the dragon, and the male child? It seems like it would make for a great text for Advent/Christmas!
If you preach with any regularity would you use this text?
As I mentioned in a previous post CTS will be showing a documentary titled ‘The Journey to Christmas’ today and tomorrow (for details go here). Craig A. Evans is one of the scholars (“experts”) that is consulted throughout the shiow. He discusses the historical setting of Christmas, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Herod the Great, and the “meaning” of Christmas in these sample videos from the documentary. They are short, but worthwhile: