Happy Monday was long enough already and I didn’t want to just stick this in at the bottom. Here is an imaginative take on what the incarnation might have looked like on the pages of social media (i.e. Facebook). Props to the brilliant folks at Igniter Media.
The advent of anything refers to its first appearing. The season of Advent is a time of preparation, waiting for the arrival of Christmas. We celebrate the waiting (perhaps honor is a better word) by examining the Old Testament prophesies, and considering the lessons the shepherds and wise men and teach us still. Lighting the candles of the Advent wreath is a far more time honored tradition than waiting in line for Black Friday deals on Sony’s PS4. Continue reading →
Have you ever seen a live nativity? Instead of plastic figures of shepherds and wise men, a live nativity scene has actors in costume, and for an hour or two each evening you can drive by and see them. The shepherds bow and worship, the magi present their gifts, perhaps Mary rocks her baby in her arms, or else Mary and Joseph simply admire him. It’s unlikely, even at a live nativity, that they have an actual newborn present. The “baby Jesus” might be a toddler, or even an infant, but you wouldn’t want to keep a real baby out in the cold for very long. Even a live nativity scene will often use a doll, or even just pretend there is a babe wrapped up in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger.
Contrast that scene with the night Jesus was born.
I opened the floor for comments on Santa and got them. I didn’t go out looking for it, but ran across this sermon outline. If you’re looking for a scriptural basis that Santa is from Satan, well there it is. And now for my bit.
Christmas – It’s worth noting to begin with that not all Christians celebrate Christmas. The Christ mass is Roman Catholic in origin, which is enough to cause some Protestants to avoid it. Eastern Orthodoxy originally celebrated the day in January, and few countries using the Julian calendar (such as Ethiopia and Russia) still do. Many of the traditions are clearly not Christian, and some speculate (the history is uncertain) that the December 25th date corresponds to the winter solstice and pagan celebrations. Tree decorating really was a pagan element that Christians “borrowed” for their own celebration. The argument can also be made that there is no scriptural command to celebrate Christ’s birth. Jesus said “This do in remembrance of me” at the Last Supper, but after his birth is recorded in the Gospels there is really no further mention of it. Only two Gospels record the birth of Christ, Matthew and Luke, but all four record his death, burial and resurrection. The incarnation is fundamental to Christian theology, but celebrating Jesus’ birth is not. Continue reading →
Advent is a season of waiting and preparation for the nativity of Jesus Christ. I have been pleased to see many friends doing the “30 days of Thanksgiving” thing on Facebook. I’m more encouraged by 30 days of Thanksgiving than by 60 or even 90 days of Christmas. If you watch some classic movies, from say the 40’s or 50’s, you’ll see Dad bringing home a tree on Christmas Eve! The family decorates the tree, hang their stockings, then celebrate Christmas the very next day. Part of the beauty of Christmas is waiting for it to arrive. Continue reading →