We’ve waited the long weeks of Advent, trying to focus expectant hearts to celebrate the birth of Christ with even a modicum of the glory and reverence it deserves. We know we fall short every year, but maybe this year—Christmas in the middle of a global pandemic—is the most difficult yet.
But if the Christmas story in Luke is framed with joy, there is a different kind of joy in John, a strange kind, the joy of tent-living.
According to its translation from Latin, Advent means “coming,” and throughout the season of Advent, we begin a time of waiting for the celebration of Christ’s coming into the world on Christmas Day.
I find the season ahead somewhat daunting. Despite the cheerful vibe, I can easily get stressed about all of it: the advertising, the events, the deadlines, the search for appropriate gifts.
St. Irenaeus once suggested that “the glory of God is the human person fully alive.” Christ’s incarnation gives us a picture of the perfect image of God. The way we become what we were meant to be is not primarily through technology, but through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, who makes us more like Christ.
Can we receive the gift of God on its own terms? Can we humble ourselves to receive this Messiah, not re-cast in the image of our own desires but as the Deliverer we really need?
The meaning of Christmas is easily lost in the glitter and hype that fill our days for weeks and months at this time of year. Much about the Christmas season is cozy and appealing. Much else about it is shallow and consumeristic. But what is the true meaning of Christmas?
The shirtless man doing taekwondo, the child staring blankly across the table at dad’s empty chair, both parents celebrating a baby’s first Christmas and the couple who cannot get pregnant, and Melissa moving earnestly from one person to the next. These are the new characters of Christmas.
The meaning of Christmas in Germany, however, gives the church freedom to proclaim the miraculous story of Jesus once again—that Christ was born for all people, that outsiders from the East are welcomed to greet the newborn Savior, and that lowly shepherds can proclaim the Good News of great joy.
My name is Zechariah. Nothing so remarkable there, as thirty Zechariahs before me are recorded in the Scriptures. But Zechariah means “Yahweh remembers,” and that seems remarkable to me, especially after…well, I’ll explain in a minute.
For Joseph, there is little comfort in store. He will take in a wife about whom others whisper. He will make a cross-country trek with this wife while she is large with child, walking while she rides a donkey, only to see her give birth to the child not only among strangers, but among animals in a stable—the only place that Joseph could find for her.
As a pastor, I always kind of dreaded the big holidays….I felt like I had prepared a message and service that was woefully inadequate.
The Christmas celebration is arguably the most celebrated season in Nigeria as everyone gathers together to celebrate the Yuletide season.
Every year, it seems that the Christmas season gets a little busier, a little crazier, and much more stressful. You may be scratching your head wondering — is it possible to have a stress-free Christmas?
Even as Christmas is a time of heightened joy and excitement, the moments of grief, pain, and sadness can feel all the more powerful. So how do we navigate grief at Christmas?
Though the world may be groaning , and violence seemingly unrelentless, somehow God gives peace to the world – peace to us – through Jesus.
Depression is a hard thing to understand, and an even harder thing to explain. But you don’t have to ‘get it’ to help your loved ones this holiday season.
Maybe the real crime against Christ and Christmas occurred when the Savior of the world somehow got wrapped up in our consumerism in the first place. What if Jesus is actually relieved every time his name gets removed from one more cultural liturgy or marketing ploy?
The endless cycle of want, symbolized by the spell commercials cast over children, can make us wonder: are any of our wants “normal” and inherently human, or are they all created in us by the world of advertising and its wizards behind the curtain? How should we, as Christians, live in a world that is caught in this cycle?
Today, as many of us worship on Christmas Day, we joyfully end Advent’s waiting with expectation and preparing with reverence. We awake today with that special sense of the ‘in the flesh’ burst of joy brought by Emmanuel—God being with us.