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)
I just came across this on Facebook. It is similar to but different from Brian’s Digital Story of the Nativity, and really good (they both are). Merry Christmas Eve and enjoy!
Every year I hear countless complaints about the bad theology of many Christmas carols. It is true, many of them do relay information not even dreamed of in the Gospels of Luke or Matthew. However, this week I have been reflecting on just how important, bad theology and all, our Christmas carols are for retelling the story of ‘God with us’ at Christmas. In a world that is Jesus saturated and biblically illiterate (as BW3 would say) the Christian carols are probably the greatest witness we have to the incarnation. Year after year people of all persuasions and beliefs belt out these tunes with no idea what they are singing. Nevertheless the gospel is preached; albeit it subtly.
In light of my musings this past week I am curious to find out what people’s favourite Christmas carols are. I am a big fan of ‘Silent Night’ (Speaking of bad theology) & ‘Come all ye faithful’. However, it is the old English hymn ‘The First Noël’ that captures my heart and mind year after year. When sung well it evokes in me faith and appreciation for all Christ has done. Furthermore, as I read through the words I find very little to disagree with. The two Gospel birth narratives are retold poetically and simply.
So, what are your favourite Christmas carols?
N.T. Wright addresses the “modern” realization that virgin birth cannot happen and the deeper reasons for why so many reject the teaching:
“Let’s get rid of any idea that we now know that virgin births don’t happen because we know about modern genetic science. Actually, people two thousand years ago were not ignorant. As C. S. Lewis once tartly pointed out, the reason Joseph was worried about Mary’s pregnancy was not because he didn’t know where babies came from but because he did.
“It was fascinating, in a classic moment of misreporting a few days ago, that when the Archbishop of Canterbury pointed out that Matthew doesn’t say how many Magi there were people thought he was a heretic, but when he said he really did believe in the virginal conception of Jesus nobody noticed.
“Actually, the strange story of Jesus’ being conceived without a human father is so peculiar, particularly within Judaism, and so obviously open to sneering accusations on the one hand and the charge that the Christians were simply aping the pagans on the other, that it would be very unlikely for someone to invent it so early in the Christian movement as Matthew and Luke. But there’s more to it than just that. The virginal conception speaks powerfully of new creation, something fresh happening within the old world, beyond the reach and dreams of the possibilities we currently know. And if we believe that the God we’re talking about is the creator of the world, who longs to rescue the world from its corruption and decay, then an act of real new creation, anticipating in fact the great moment of Easter itself, might just be what we should expect, however tremblingly, if and when this God decides to act to bring this new creation about. The ordinary means of procreation is one of the ways, deep down, in which we laugh in the face of death. Mary’s conception of Jesus has no need of that manoeuver. ‘In him was life, and the life was the light of all people.’ The real objection to the virginal conception is not primarily scientific. It is deeper than that. It is the notion that a new world really might be starting up within the midst of the old, leaving us with the stark choice of birth or death; leaving us, like the Magi, no longer at ease: leaving us, in other words, as Christmas people faced with the Herods of the world.”
From a sermon titled “Power to Become Children: Isaiah 52.7-10; John 1.1-18″. See the full transcript here.