Archive for the 'Christmas' Category

11
Dec
14

the Significance of Christmas

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Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’ (Luke 1)

Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2)

What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?’ Pilate asked them.
‘Crucify him!’ they shouted. (Mark 15)

This Christmas, remember there is more to Jesus than a baby in a manger.

20
Dec
13

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us

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While the time of year may be wrong to celebrate His birth, it is never wrong to celebrate Jesus, as long as we celebrate Him for the right reason and for who He actually is.

At Christmas the focus tends to be on baby Jesus, meek and mild, but here are some of the more neglected things that scripture tells us in its account of Jesus’ birth. To me they describe a Jesus far different to the one commonly  portrayed at Christmas.

“… you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end”

“… that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

“there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ”

“…she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins”

“Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against …that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made… And the Word became 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”

 

 

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After today I’ll be away for two weeks and any comments will have to wait for moderation until after my return.

And over this period when so many celebrate christmas in ways that give Jesus so little thought (or if they do think of Him they think of a baby in a manger), my prayer is that more will see Him as the crucified King who could not be held by death. The Messiah, risen and seated at theFather’s right hand, who will one day return to rule.

 

The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel

Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
 Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,lest  He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

21
Dec
12

A WORD FOR CHRISTMAS AND BEYOND

As a final post for 2012 here is something about Christmas that I wrote 7 years ago:

A WORD FOR CHRISTMAS AND BEYOND

It’s getting very close to Christmas.
Should we be celebrating even though we know there is no real connection with the 25th December and the birth of our Lord? Should we shun the celebration because the REAL source of the holiday is a pagan celebration?

Some Christians proclaim we should “Put the Christ back into Christmas”. I’ve heard others saying we should take the Christ out of Christmas because the event was never really about Him anyway – pointing to all of the closely held traditions that originate in pagan practices.
But please let me make this point. At what other time of the year are unbelievers willingly confronted with hymns praising our Lord – even singing along?

Despite attempts to replace the “religious” carols with American songs about Jingling Bells, snow men, and reindeer with unusual facial colouring, the Christ praising songs still hang in there among the favourites. At this time of the year, despite attempts to secularise Christmas, in our western tradition, it has remained acceptable, (even among unbelievers) to remember that our Lord was born into this world as a human baby.

Surely, while this acceptability remains we should make the most of it. There is a starting point for the preaching of the gospel while people have this seasonal awareness of the beginnings of Jesus human life.

How can we “exploit” this situation? By belittling the occasion because the date has no historical fact? By shunning celebration because of its pagan roots? Or by recognising an opportunity to make people aware of Jesus BEYOND the manger?

I recall several years ago one radical group of Christians in my home town joined a Christmas parade. Their contribution was a man dressed as Jesus carrying the cross being whipped as he walked along. The person with the whip was dressed as Santa Claus. Now did THAT cause an uproar in the local press!

Now this brings me to another point I’d like to make – the difference between Christmas and Easter (yet another pagan celebration appropriated by the church). Around the time of Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ” I was astonished at the reaction of the major movie reviewers. These people who can eagerly type their praises of intensely violent and ugly films like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and others – somehow found the brutality of Jesus being scourged and crucified as intensely offensive.

I realised then how acceptable Jesus can be when He’s no more than a baby in a manger. But Jesus suffering and dying for our sins, the brutality of the crucifixion, the sheer ugliness of torn flesh and shed blood – well it’s just not acceptable is it? At least not in the world’s eyes – it’s too confronting. A baby receiving birthday presents and visits from angels and shepherds, all of the peace and goodwill messages, THAT is what they can accept. But move that baby on to adulthood and look at the end purpose of His life and the world doesn’t want to know. They’ll celebrate His birth with songs of paraise – but His death?

Just pass them more chocolate eggs.
Manger




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