Sometime in November, as things now stand, the "Christmas season" begins. The streets are hung with lights, the stores are decorated with red and green, and you can't turn on the radio without hearing songs about the spirit of the season and the glories of Santa Claus. The excitement builds to a climax on the morning of December 25, and then it stops, abruptly. Christmas is over, the New Year begins, and people go back to their normal lives.
The traditional Christian celebration of Christmas is exactly the opposite. The season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and for nearly a month Christians await the coming of Christ in a spirit of expectation, singing hymns of longing. Then, on December 25, Christmas Day itself ushers in 12 days of celebration, ending only on January 6 with the feast of the Epiphany.
Many think it begins twelve days before Christmas? Nope, the time before Christmas is called Advent. The 12 Days start on Christmas day and continue until Epiphany. That is why my desk is still decorated.
From the lack of my persistency we’re less than half as close as I want to be. How often is this the state of our faith? Adam4d, one of my favorite web comics, published a comic called I’m a terrible Christian the other day. It hit home.
Sometimes I worry that I’m a complete failure.
And then it hits me.
I am a complete failure.
I’m a terrible Christian.
But Jesus is perfect.
And by faith I belong to Him.
So I keep trying my best.
And even though I worry that my best is terrible,
He credits me with His perfection.
And covers my failures with grace.
And that’s the whole point.
Mercy me. The Gospel is amazing because— unlike other religions that require people to aspire to godliness— Christ requires nothing but surrender. You cannot do anything to get closer to God but follow Him. He’ll handle the rest.
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That You were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
You were born so I might live. This is easily one of my favorite Christmas songs and one of my favorite Relient K songs. This baby, flesh and bone, would one day save me.
And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life
As the hustle and bustle dies down, and a new year begins, as Saint Nick’s presence is no longer at every shopping center, will we forget this Child in a manger? In another 365 days will you say, “From the lack of my persistency we’re less than half as close as I want to be?”
As our daughter was about to celebrate her first Christmas a couple years ago, I wrote:
We all remember when we grew too old for fairy tales. When we started to recognize the line between truth and fiction. For some it came naturally, for others it came as a stab that wounded us for some time. As children, our imagination is one of our greatest gifts. A gift that needs to be nurtured and taught.
C.S. Lewis believed that there was an in between period. Between recognizing that line and embracing that line. But, as he wrote in his dedication for Chronicles of Narnia, “someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
As I grow up, I grow to understand that we are meant to have children while we are young, as our imaginations mature, to reel us back in and prevent the childlike faith inside us from dying.
Sometimes it feels like growing up kills all the mystery of being young, but with a daughter, I see the twinkle in her eye as she creates complex stories for her dolls and stuffed toys. “Thank you!” says the elephant to Donald Duck. “You’re welcome,” says Donald.
But when I hold you close I know,
The truth in every story told,
And anything is possible,
I believe just like a kid on Christmas morning.
I had heard this song before, but this year it struck a chord I hadn’t heard before. Hadn’t truly heard, that is. Charlotte is busy with her imagination, and tears come when I stop her to go to bed, or to leave the house. Certain toys must come with us.
Tonight, as Christmas Eve comes to a close, I pray:
And as I lay me down to sleep,
And pray the Lord my soul to keep,
When I wake it’s you I see,
And I feel just like a kid on Christmas morning.
Christmastime is a time for music, for family, for friends, and for reflection. Much to my coworkers’ dismay, I decorated my desk the first week of November, having already been listening to Christmas music for a couple months. Christmas music is some of my favorite. But, as many of my friends know, I lean towards the religious Christmas music, not the Frosty’s and Rudolph’s.
So over the next three days, I want to share three songs that have been playing the most over the last few months. Songs of reflection, praise, and love for a God that came to be with us.
Love, what have you done?
Sent out your Son into the dark.
How could you let go?
Didn’t you know it would break your heart?
As we focus on the Child at Christmas, we sometimes forget the surrounding story. Reflecting on this sacrifice of an all-knowing, sovereign God is just as important this time of year as it is at Easter.
As Chad Bird put’s it:
None of the Gospels mention this unwelcome visitor to Bethlehem, but the Apocalypse does. John paints a seven-headed, ten-horned red dragon onto the peaceful Christmas canvas. You can read all about it in Revelation 12.
It’s the nativity story we don’t talk about. A dragon trying to eat our Lord.
Making something about nothing, the social justice warriors are again blowing their rape whistles on a classic, Christmastime song. Not understand the context and meaning of the song, and always fearing a good-hearted gentleman wanting to rape them, they have created a new version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside that has more consent and less wooing and flirting.
It was written in an era when seduction was not synonymous with sexual assault, you didn’t need to sign a consent form to hold a girl’s hand, and men weren’t assumed to be vicious predators.
Maybe you should understand the meaning of the song before you attack. This great article from Daily Caller may help you respond to your friends that are all sharing this video right now. Don’t let them kill romance at Christmas.