Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Jesus’ birthday during the winter? Have you ever wondered why we celebrate his birthday at all? It is not as if we know Jesus’ actual date of birth.
All we know is what the gospels reveal. We know that at the first Christmas, “there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” (Luke 2:8). Shepherds in the Middle East only pasture their flocks at night when it is warm out. During the winter, it is too cold. Instead of being in the fields, the sheep like being snuggled together toasty warm in a nice pen. This means that more than likely Jesus was born in the warmth of the late spring, the summer, or the early autumn. This is Read more “Guest Post: Our Christmas Hope – An Advent Reflection”
Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
It’s a tale as old as time: pregnant couple travels home for the census, cannot find room at the inn when she’s ready to deliver the bun she’s been baking, stodgy innkeeper sends them out back to party in the barn. Cue baby Jesus, no-crying-he-makes (which is a fairly impressive feat for anyone spending the night among animals… much less an infant). Read more “What If I Told You There Was No “Inn””
I chuckle when my friends lament the steady advance of Christmas music onto the turf of the “regular” year. I chuckle because my feathers get ruffled during the holidays too, but it isn’t the sounds of carols in November that grate on my ears; it’s the inevitable tune played by an institution I like to call the WCC, “The Wholly Complaining Church.”
I received an email forward from this Church last year. It sung the classic WCC Christmas-tree dirge, “These are not Holiday Trees, they are not Winter Festival Trees, they are not Hanukkah Bushes, they are not Allah plants! They are Christmas Trees! Say it… Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! NOT Holiday!”
Shouting “Christmas, Not Holiday,” “Keep Christ In Christmas,” and other slogans Read more “Keeping Christ in Christmas”
Our family’s manger fascinated me as a child. The familiar scene of wise men huddled around a father, mother, and baby effortlessly augmented the decorative Christmas landscape in our living room; multicolored light strings, an ornate tree, piles of firewood, garland strands, and baby blond-haired Jesus clutching at a little sheep. Flakes of soft wood blanketed the manger floor, Mary’s face beamed underneath her blue hood, and all of the animals focused inquisitively on a slumbering infant. How could this not be God’s son?
Some years later I learned that the wise men were not standing by the manger when Jesus was born, that they Read more “Wise Men, Cute Baby, and the Stench of Dung”