heart of Christmas

BAH! HUMBUG?

(November 25, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares …

Christmas is almost with us again. Most people enjoy the season but you will always find some people who will mutter and complain about it.

One of the most famous is Ebenezer Scrooge, a character who was invented by Charles Dickens in his book A Christmas Carol.  Scrooge was a man who had a cranky and very negative outlook on life and his disapproval of Christmas was expressed in the words, ‘Bah! Humbug!

And I’ve met some Christians over the years whose attitude to Christmas is very ‘Scroogeish’ (if that is a word). What pops into your mind when you hear the word ‘Christmas’?

The Christmas atmosphere
There are so many things that we associate with Christmas today. Obviously we can’t avoid the secular interpretation of Christmas with Santa Claus and the Christmas tree and lights and presents (many of which we don’t particularly want) and all the other associated secular trappings.

I have to admit that I quite enjoy all that even though most of it bears little resemblance to the real significance of the event. And I also have to admit that, having grown up in the Northern Hemisphere, in Ireland and then ministering in England, where Christmas is a mid-winter celebration, I miss that kind of Christmas atmosphere.

 

But as Christians the first thing, and the most important thing, we associate with Christmas is the coming of Jesus because that’s what it is really all about. And so – (more…)

CHRISTMAS OR CHRISTMYTH

(December 9, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, once again challenges us to think outside the proverbial box…

I admit it! There is no such word as ‘Christmyth’ in the English dictionary but I have formed it to make a point of contrast.

The word ‘Christmas’ is first found in Old English, in 1038 and was called Cristes Maesse. It referred to the festival that celebrated the coming of Christ into the world. Maesse, which means ‘dismissal’, refers to the sending out of the worshippers who had celebrated the good news of the birth of the Saviour.

I find that to be so appropriate for the message of the Incarnation is one of redemption and hope that Christians need to ‘go and share’ throughout the world.

My ‘made-up’ word ‘Christmyth’ refers to what I see to be the dominant expression of the festival today. A glorious, unrepeatable, rescue event expressing the loving heart of God has been transformed into a happy myth-laden tale with jolly Santas, red-nosed reindeers and fun!

And in so many ways the church has bought into this sanitised and shallow version of the biblical story by placing an emphasis on the sweet baby in a manger, the heavenly choirs and the ‘silent night.’

Don’t misunderstand me. I really am not a Grinch!  I too enjoy the ‘myth.’ At Christmas time it is so good to see the excitement in the eyes of children and the coming together of friends and families and the singing of the old familiar carols. But I sense that along the way we have so developed the ‘myth’ of Christmas that we have sold-out on the essential truth of the event.

Let’s take this further. (more…)

CHRISTMAS – A TIME OF EXPECTANCY

(December 9, 2018) Maureen McQuillan shares a Christamas reflection…

December – this mad month of packed shops – many playing unassociated loud, ear bending music (like certain churches!) – are busily selling Christmas decorations and presents. It’s great to note that some stores are season-minded and resound with timely precious carols such as Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

Christmas – the time to be joyful, give gifts, demonstrate love, and especially for Christians to celebrate with thanks the gift of God of his Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Overall Christmas is a time of expectancy, even down to ‘Where to park, what gifts to get’ and later ‘What will be inside my parcel Christmas morn? What Christmas lunch?’

It’ll be fun in our home… we’ll have our precious daughter Wendy who was born on Christmas Day – I was certainly expecting that Christmas quite some time ago! – and family members for lunch, even though our rental is on the small size! (Our new home is being built so our furniture is packed away and we only have a tiny four-place table to work around).

But it’ll be fun though, a time of love shared in jovial companionship, caring for each other and good tasty food – I’ve been busy working on a well-planned spread that will ensure we all enjoy our time together! Our expectation?  A day well shared together.

(more…)