It’s Christmas Eve. Hopefully you’re spending your time with loved ones, but in case you’re still online, here are some short but powerful Christmas articles worth checking out.
Merry Christmas, my friends!
But while it’s full of wonder, twinkling lights, presents, and homemade pizza (at least in our house!), the story has lost a lot of its inherent messiness and dirt today. When we think of the sites, sounds, and smells of Christmas, twinkling lights, holiday tunes, and pine tree scents come to mind. But the sites, sounds, and smells we associate to Christmas today couldn’t be further from the first century Christmas experience.
another thing I always loved about Christmas was the lights. I mean some of them were just beautiful, and other were mindblowingly cool, and still more were ugly and chaotic. But I loved to go look at the lights. You see, Christmas is about the Light. There was a star in the sky and it was a map guiding people to a king that was born a baby. That King was Himself a light. In John Chapter 1, he writes of Jesus and says, “In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
If you’re like me, you’re sick and tired of hearing the commercial Christmas music that’s been playing everywhere for over a month now. Well, cleanse your musical palate with a few of my favorite choral pieces for the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany cycle. Here they are, in no particular order.
Though, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (Latin—Veni, Veni, Emanuel) was first published, pretty much as we know it today, in 1854 in England, it’s roots go back over a thousand years before that. In fact, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” is most assuredly one of the oldest, if not the oldest, Christmas Carol in most hymnbooks today and is one of the oldest texts still sung by the Church at any time of the year… To find its beginnings, we have to go to France and at travel least as far back as the reign of Charlemagne.
People are homeless. People are hungry. People are lonely. People can be selfish, rude, obnoxious, arrogant and petty. As we have seen before, it’s not always the people you expect that fulfill their traditional roles… If you know what Christmas is all about, please share it this year. Not in a sermon from the cornucopia that is your dining room table, but from a heart that is willing to share the light that shines brightest.
There is something here so remarkable that pagan astrologers take to flight for the long, arduous journey westward. Something so good is in the offering that a wicked king commands the slaughter of innocents. Something so unusual that blue-collar workers, who thought they’d seen it all, are filled with great fear, then leave their flocks in haste to find this newborn—and then can’t keep quiet. “And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.”