Who says Christmas has to come to a close? Who says that just because the boxes and bags get broken down and packed away for use next year that we can’t intentionally and carefully prepare beautiful presents and packages of love and ministry for others?
What is a Wenceslas, and why do we sing about it at Christmas time? What is it about this jaunty little tune by John Mason Neale that has earned it a place in the Christmas carol repertoire as well as in the hearts of many for the past 160 years — even though not a word about Christmas is mentioned anywhere in the lyrics?
We won’t be left on this island of misfit toys forever. He has prepared a room for us where he will be also.
A life in 4 sentences. Eighty-four years summed up in about 90 words: lineage, marriage, widowhood, temple service—and an encounter with the Messiah, the redemption of Jerusalem.
Visitations from angels announcing the coming of a Prince, a Savior, the Son of the Most High fit nicely into the storybook magic of a childhood Christmas memory, and provide great material for Christmas pageants and Christmas eve services, but what relevance could they have for 21st century, thinking Christians who have been marinating in determinism and secularized scientific methodology for most of their lives? The answer? It all comes down to love and hospitality—two towering virtues associated with Christmas.
Fleshly desires are a powerful lot, intrusive, manipulative, and deceitful. At this time of year, they are especially compelling when driven by the idolatry of “the perfect Christmas.” She who would be victorious over them cannot just “remember the reason for the season” or “keep Christ in Christmas” or “believe”, still craving something more, something better.
There is no room in the inn for both the cravings that fester in and erupt out of a heart of unbelief and ingratitude and a desire for Christ. If, like me, at some point in the craziness of this season, you look around you and realize your flesh has been ruling the conduct of your heart, come back to Jesus.
When we face famine and disease, loss of loved ones, disaster, brutal conditions, do we cling to an otherworldly view of this life, an understanding that this is not all there is, that we’re passing through to God’s better country?