Archives For Advent

christmas-buschWilhelm Busch, reflecting on Christmas past as a young German soldier in World War One, noted that the overwhelming sense of desolation and homesickness which had dominated the atmosphere, hindered all attempts to celebrate it.

After a large quantity of alcohol had been delivered and consumed, things went from sombre to surreal. Though Christmas celebrations were arranged, “everything went wrong”.

That dugout and this Christmas, any glimmer of consolation gained from communal conversations about gathering to mark the day had been lost.

No longer did this Christmas feel or even look as it could have.

Busch hints at a deep disconnect between the alcohol induced light-heartedness of his comrades and the heavy heart he felt for the clear absence of community marking the real value in Christmas.

Sorrow, loneliness and self-pity were being drowned in a sea of self-medication. With it, the beauty and healing that can come from a Christmas acknowledged and shared was abandoned.

Busch writes that he quietly left the noise behind him and walked outside to sit alone in the darkness.

Looking beyond the dugout towards what was left of an old village, he asked himself,

‘two years ago joyful people had celebrated Christmas there. Where were they now that their homes had disappeared?’[i]

According to Busch, this pondering laced with lament was interrupted by a Lieutenant who emerged from the smoke-filled, buoyant hole.

Not seeing Busch nearby the Lieutenant stopped stared out into the evening sky and then:

‘…pulled out from under his cape a glistening horn and put it to his lips.
The music sounded soft and strange as it carried over the devastated valley the tones of the carol:
‘Oh you joyful, Oh you blessed, grace bringing Christmas time…’
His blowing practically forced me to speak the words quietly along with him. And everything rose up in rebellion within me. ‘No! No!’ cried my heart. ‘It is not true! There is a village that’s destroyed. Every ruined house is a reminder of deep sorrow.
And here are the drunk, homesick men, back home the weeping women, children calling for their fathers.
Blood, death, misery … How can you play like that: “Oh you joyful…”?’ But he blew on unperturbed.
And it sounded accusingly: ‘The world was lost…’ ‘Yes,’ I thought, ‘now that is altogether true.’ I had never perceived and seen it like that.
‘Christ is born…’ he blew into my thoughts. So bright, so jubilant that I had to listen:
‘Christ is born! Rejoice, rejoice O Christendom!’
Then it was as if scales fell from my eyes: this is Christmas, this and nothing else:
‘The world was lost; Christ is born! Rejoice, O Christendom!’[ii]

I see in this account a message deeper than that of the tragic complexities of war. Here we see the burden of expectations we place on ourselves by what we think Christmas should be, look and feel like.

The challenge issued to us from Busch is to stop seeking our perfect idea of Christmas, to at least refine what we expect Christmas to be. Instead, reflect on how Christmas finds us and on what it actually brings to us.

Christmas can be a confusing mix of wonder and dread. It can sweep us off our feet or remind us about the gloomy agony of isolation, ostracization.  At the same time Christmas can answer our despair with inspiration, overwhelming generosity, and breathe new life into each dark and exhausting step.

It is an act of joyful remembrance; a time of acknowledgement that the knowledge of who God is, and what God is about, is confirmed in His free act to be free for, with, and near us.

To act on Advent and Christmas is to acknowledge with humility and gratitude, in prayer, a season set apart for new life.

It is a moment beyond moments, one that transcends money, presents, deifying and impressing our neighbours or family. Such a time as this must be grasped as we are grasped and held.

Christmas is a season unlike any other that consists of one of two days in the year where we get to stop and acknowledge that in Jesus Christ we are truly reached for.

This is a moment in time that is not centred on our ego, although it is for us it is not about us. As Karl Barth would term it, Christmas is an event carved by God’s good pleasure into a calendar otherwise dominated by awkward celebration, loss and lament. Here, on this day, we recall that God’s Word of freedom is decisively spoken.

To act on Advent and Christmas is to acknowledge the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.

Without this, our celebration is an empty ritual filled with cheap decorations, avarice and religion. The weight of faulty products from a fallen people working too hard to please each other and ourselves.

To act on Advent and Christmas is to be moved politically and relationally beyond religion. It is the encroachment of God’s Kingdom come.

With Christ and in Christ, our celebration moves us beyond ourselves, our wallet and our pain. We are moved towards a light that was not lit by human imagination, but was and is an historical event in space and time. Responded to, reasoned about, joyfully acknowledged and reverently proclaimed.

“The world was lost;

Christ is born!

Rejoice, O Christendom!”


References:

[i] Busch W. (1897-1966) Stories from my life and times, in Puritz, C. 2013, Ed. Christ or Hitler? Evangelical Press. Kindle Ed. Loc. 637-638

[ii] Ibid, loc. 642-652

Originally published 24th December 2014

©Rod Lampard, 2018

Rembrandt_1633 Christ in the storm on the sea of GalileeAlthough I’ve browsed through ‘City of God’ and ‘On Christian Doctrine’, my main interaction with Augustine’s work centres on his ‘Confessions’.  (A phenomenal read if you ever get the chance to dig into it.)

I like many of the things Augustine says and wrestle with some of his more introspective reflections.

One of those is his statement:

‘The appearance of what we do is often different from the intention with which we do it, and the circumstances at the time may not be clear’[i]

Augustine seems to be saying that what we intend is not always what we do. Circumstances pending, what we do is sometimes only for the sake of what we want others to see and therefore say about us.

Avarice overrides responsible action as pride corrupts intention. Thus leading us onto a path where we turn ‘the loss of confessing self in order to be for others, into an all consuming self, an expressivist exhibition’[ii]

The divide between appearances and intentions, then, forms the basis of his point. This existential division creates an ethical-theological tension perpetuated by the sometimes fog of circumstances.

This is identified by Jean Bethke Elshtain in ‘Augustine and the limits of politics’:

 ‘Augustine lays the miseries of human life at the doorstep of sin, our division (within selves and between self and others), our enthrallment to cupiditas[iii] and our all-too-frequent abandonment of caritas[iv]. We are, in other words, ignorant but it is ignorance of a particular kind, not innocent naiveté but prideful cognitive amputation.[v]

What Elshtain means by ‘prideful cognitive amputation’ is ‘philosophical solipsism’ (extreme subjective idealism)[vi]; thoughtlessness (not to be confused with mindlessness), but understood as ‘the banality of evil.(Hannah Arendt’s controversial assessment of Adolf Eichmann) [vii]

Elshtain, a feminist, presents her analysis of Augustine as an attempt at rescue. Saving Augustine from the ritualistic frown passed on to our forebears by the hubris and suspicion of post 60’s modernity.

For her, Augustine is relevant and worthy of a second look:

‘He confesses what he knows and what he does not know. He does know that the world isn’t boundlessly subjectivist; it does not revolve around the “me, myself and I”[viii]

Augustine himself thunders the point home:

‘I flattered my pride to think that I incurred no guilt and, when I did wrong, not to confess it so that you might bring healing to a soul that had sinned against you. I preferred to excuse myself and blame this unknown thing which was in me but was not part of me. The truth, of course, was all my own self, and my own impiety had divided me against myself. My sin was all the more incurable because I did not think myself a sinner’[ix]

Elshtain brilliantly adds, ‘when we start to regard ourselves in our own light, our light dims’[x]

Reading this in the emerging light of advent we might be called back to Karl Barth’s assertion

‘To thank means to accept with confession,… to acknowledge the gift, the goodness and the kindness of the Giver’[xi]

God makes himself known in Jesus Christ, ‘the sign of all signs[xii]

In Augustine’s sigh we hear that the heart has ears. Before the beauty of Christmas this can only mean an awakening to an awareness of our own need for grace; an acknowledgement that we are carried, firmly, lovingly held above the abyss.

Confronted by such a grace we learn that God is God and we are not. Yet, by Divine decision; a fierce and free decree. In Jesus Christ, we are spoken to, spoken for and therefore not given up on.

In His example we see in part, the point of Christmas. That the ‘principle of charity requires nothing less than to make one’s best effort.’[xiii]

Jesus is Victor!


Source

[i] Augustine, St. Confessions Penguin Classics III/XIX 1961:67

[ii] Elshtain, J.B. 1995 ‘Augustine & The Limits of Politics’ p.6

[iii] Latin for desire, eagerness, enthusiasm; passion; lust; avarice; greed; ambition; partisanship (Source: Collins Latin Dictionary App)

[iv] Latin for charity, grace, dearness, high price; esteem, affection (Source: Collins Latin Dictionary App)

[v] Elshtain, J.B. 1995 ‘Augustine & The Limits of Politics’ p.37

[vi] Ibid, p.59

[vii] Ibid,

[viii] Ibid, p.5

[ix] Augustine, St. 1961 Confessions Penguin Classics V/X p.103

[x] Elshtain, ibid pp.11, 66 &62

[xi] Barth, K. 1940 The Limits of  the Knowledge of God C.D II/I Hendrickson Publishers p.198

[xii] Ibid, p.199

[xiii] Elshtain, ibid p.55

*I’ve borrowed the second part of the title to this blog post from Elshtain, who uses it on page xiii in her introduction.

Image: Rembrandt, 1633 ‘Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee’

Originally published 14th December 2014

The Flower Of The Holy Night

December 16, 2017 — 2 Comments

December 12 is National Poinsettia Day in the United States.

Running with a few ideas for the remaining weeks of term 4, I settled on one which contributed to our encounters with cultures different to our own.

Combining craft, theology and horticulture, we looked at, painted, cut and pasted together the Poinsettia; otherwise known as the ‘Mexican Fire plant’ or the ‘Flower of the Holy Night’.

Poinsettia Collage 1_0

The resources included ‘Christmas around the World Scrapbook {Supplement}’ from Sarah Cooley, a TpT contributor, and a video presentation of Tomie dePaola’s book,  The Legend of the Poinsettia’. (Both worth checking out).

I didn’t have the room to advance beyond this activity supplement and launch into the scrapbook. I was, however, able to merge the activity into a hands-on discussion surrounding the history, theology and tradition.

Poinsettia Collage 1_solo 1

According to the official website for Poinsettia Day[i], the plant was renamed after American Statesman and botanist, Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851), who brought the ‘red-leafed plant into the United States’[ii] from Mexico.

‘Mexico’s relationship to the plant begins with The Aztecs, who called the plant “Cuitlaxochitl” meaning “star flower” and used it to produce a red dye. The sap was also used to control fevers. Mexico’s use of the plant to celebrate Christmas dates back to the 17th century.’ (Source)

Mexican tradition speaks about how the Poinsettia came to be an important part of Christmas celebrations there.

‘The flower connects to the legend of a young girl, distraught about not having anything with which to honour the Baby Jesus in a Christmas procession. An angel tells her that any gift given with love is a wonderful gift. Later the weeds she gathers by the roadside to place around the manger miraculously transform into the beautiful red star flower we think of as Poinsettia.’ (Source)

The Smithsonian Institute is also loosely connected to the Poinsettia with Joel Poinsett being a founding member of its progenitor, ‘The National Institute for the Promotion of Science’. An organisation later renamed the Smithsonian after James Smithson, its primary benefactor. ’[iii]

Should you receive or see a Poinsettia this Christmas, its history and tradition are good conversation starters.

As far as facilitating a homeschool lesson that includes horticulture, history, tradition and theology. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Related reading:

Poinsettia care tips


References (not otherwise linked)

[i] http://www.poinsettiaday.com/

[ii] Smithsonian Institute, A Smithsonian Holiday Story: Joel Poinsett and the Poinsettia sourced 13th December 2014

[iii] Ibid.

This post was originally posted on the 13th December 2014.

An Advent Jigsaw Journey

December 6, 2017 — 2 Comments

A few years back we came across this 24 piece jigsaw by Juliet David (Author) & Pauline Siewert (Illustrator).

U.S: Amazon, AUS: Koorong 

Advent_JigsawPuzzle

At some point in November 2012, my wife and I got to talking about one of Ann Voskamp‘s family traditions. In a moment of inspiration, we wondered out-loud how cool it would be to use this jigsaw as an interactive advent calendar. Participating in Advent is another act of worship. It’s lived out daily. Hence, I’m not an admirer of chocolate filled cardboard Christmas countdown boxes, so this fit the bill.

IMG_20131202_093013

The general idea is not complex.

First: set up the jigsaw by numbering the back of each piece from one to twenty-four in a permanent marker, leaving the 24th piece with Jesus on it for Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day.

Second: match the date with each piece, daily.

Worth noting: after some rough starts, we decided  to create a basic roster on our calendar for December. That way each child was free to monitor it, knowing when and who got to have their turn. We found that this fostered a sense of community. Discussions each morning nearly always included reminding each other who’s turn it was on the day.

The end result is a historical scene that comes into view over the course of December. Empowering a very real experience of reverence, hope and anticipation. I’m a big fan of encouraging theological themes where relevant, this deeply entrenches us in what the Christ-Advent is all about.

Advent_JigsawPuzzleexample2012

We’ve done this alongside our Nutcracker Advent calendar every year since. Not just because the kids loved it, but because the process also reflects an interaction with the history surrounding the curious journey of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Angels, shepherds and wise-men.

I wouldn’t quite call this sacramental, but I would emphasise the significance of its symbolism and its potential as a very simple spiritual discipline.


19th-december-2016-023Here’s how a committee meeting between Herod and his advisers might sound, if such a meeting were to take place in a Western context today.


“This baby! This Jesus, his mother and father, is a threat to us! Committee members, you are asked to agree with Herod’s call for the genocide of all new born male Hebrew children. For by this child’s very existence, all the power structures that surround him stand unprotected. This so-called, “Prince of peace”, is a threat to safe spaces, our glorious goal of perpetual revolution and the power of its leaders.”

“This child’s birth is nothing but a conservative, bourgeois conspiracy, comrades! It’s violence against everything we stand for, which is surely justification enough for its violent suppression.”

“His existence as an outright repressive assault on everything we’ve built; everything we want people to believe in.”

“This is blasphemy against the State and it must not go unpunished. We’ve heard of the academics; how three bourgeoisie wise-men cheated you. Traitors to our glorious academic industrial complex, all of them!! Therefore, any who refuse to give up this child’s location should be tried and tortured. Treated like the vermin, we say they are.”

“It’s their kind that hinders us from completely implementing the way of our glorious leaders. The way of our glorious revolution [pounds fist on desk] !! We should continue to seek to replace structures we deem oppressive with our own. Tear them down!! This child, the “Prince of peace” is a threat! He challenges us, our religion of peace, and our people.”

“Comrades, you know that ‘State power must be exercised in all spheres, even in that of thought!’ [i] For what we do is for the good of the people, we know what’s best for them, better than they know themselves.”

“Yes. Our revolutionary non-gender specific person of the same mind is correct! Our collective’s survival rests on our ideas dominating the higher ground in the hearts of the people. Those who still have sway with the young, and yet betray us must be purged!”

“I concur! This birth represents heteronormative oppression. We must rally people to take up arms against it. He who says that God became man is guilty of hatred towards women. It is said that the husband, one carpenter by the name of Joseph, has wed this woman, Mary, under strange circumstances. As it has been told to us by our spies and confirmed by the secret police, this Joseph is said to have been given the task of caring for the child by Angels. This only reinforces the evils of patriarchy. It will perpetuate the lies that claim healthy child rearing at its best, involves both a man and a woman; a father and a mother. It MUST be stopped! We must ban Christmas!”

” We’ll paint this male Christ-child and the nativity scene itself, as an evil idea, constructed to further the chains of bigoted societal norms.”

“The birth of the “Prince of Peace” threatens our control over what we say is peace; We must have war! These chosen people; these breeders, are an assault on ALL humanity. The State alone, is the peace bringer. The State alone, is the saviour of the people.”

“At the heart of this child is a war on peace! He will stand against our truth and it’s phobic misrepresentations. He will not be easy to control through our mass propaganda and He will unhinge us from progress.”

“For the betterment of humanity; for our evolution, we must have control and influence of hearts and minds, which as we’ve agreed, has to happen first with our educational institutions. Our science is the only science. Our truth, the only truth. What we say is scientific fact, is scientific fact. After-all, we fund our scientists well, and they’re loyalty to our agenda is off the charts. They will all fall in line and do as we tell them to.”

The room quiets down then a voice shouts in frustration:

“How dare this woman, this Mary, choose to keep her unexpected pregnancy! Worst of all, she claims to have been chosen by God! Send her to the Clinic for the welfare of women’s rights! That child must not be allowed to live!”

“This must not go unpunished!”

“Her convictions and religious beliefs are phobic, sexist and irrational. So, we the committee applaud your decision, dear Herod.  We’ve even lined up celebrity endorsements to back us on how necessary and just this action is. This woman’s pregnancy, and the prophecy attached to it is a farce, therefore this child’s life should be deemed not worthy of life.”

“Her and her child’s suffering will not be on your head. This Mary has made her choice and we will not celebrate it …. If only she could’ve seen the freedom our glorious revolution has offered her, the same freedom we’ve given all women, who do as we say, think as we think, and follow what and who we tell them to follow. Ignorant fiend! How dare she stand against us and think for herself. We cannot be to blame, we wouldn’t have had to act as we have. Mary is to wear the blame for forcing your hand, dear Herod, not you.”

“Okay. Then the decision is unanimous. Therefore, let nothing sway you. You are to wipe out males up to the age of two. This will save us and make certain we have eliminated this threat to peace and our civil order. This is an act of great compassion, surgically liberating your people from this threat to us, is the right course of action.”

“After all, we are the victims here! It’s an all out attack on feminism.”

“This young woman’s choice disempowers all women. Her choice undermines our choice for women. If she gets away with it, what does our lack of response say about our pro-abortion policies and how will that negatively impact the millions in funding flowing into our abortion-on-demand factories? This woman could potentially kill the whole industry. The State must, at all cost, uphold the ideals of glorious revolution.”

“Yes. I have the data here. Social media polls suggest support for reinforcing our commitment to feminism. Killing every Hebrew male under the age of two, is the only way to reassure those people that, you Herod, and your council, remain committed to social justice programs that favour those we deem to be the oppressed, and those we deem to be the oppressors.”

“The birth of the Prince of peace; the Son of God, and its proclamation before everyday people is a threat to us. It will inspire ignorance,  non-conformism and counter cultural activists into disobedience. Zealots will rise. Worst of all it will inspire unity and solidarity amongst those we seek to control for their own benefit.”

“Surely, not! The people are now convinced we serve them, even if putting our own interests before them is undeniable. Will they really care? They know who holds the power and who doesn’t; who to fear and who not to.”

“Well, I think your trust in our propaganda success is slightly misplaced. Make no mistake, this child will work against us! He will stand as a threat to our factories, our causes, and he will take away our ability to convince the people about how necessary it is for them to have us in power. Only you can be called King. Only the State and the glorious leaders of the revolution can be called saviour! There can be no other!”

“The raising up of anyone against the glorious progressive collective must be met with ridicule, shame, and gaol time. This rise of a King of kings, must not be allowed to happen.”

“I agree! We want our ideas to reign. We want a peaceful society in harmony with the peaceful religion we’ve created and authorised. We want our people to be thankful for the live-life-our-way programs. We have no room for a Prince of peace, we have a religion of peace; there is no room for a “King of Kings” who commands us to live life His way, according to the ways of the Good Book before our redaction of it.”

“If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ll know that I for one, am outraged! This so-called birth of the Prince of Peace, is what real violence looks like! It is violence towards the collective. Violence against the state! Violence against women! Violence against us!”

“Then let it be made known that all who disagree with us are traitors, haters and infidels! Anyone not thinking along with us, is against us.”

“We’re told that the prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled, that this child is a saviour.”

“But the quiet proclamation announcing the birth of a Jew; a baby boy from Judea is ethnocentric; it’s offensive to other races. It propagates the legitimacy of Israel’s existence,  and threatens our power on the world stage.”

“If not stopped, this manger baby will lead a revolution. We are all in agreement. This Christ-child is a threat to us all.”

“We must not stop showing a unified stance against this blatant display of contempt for our leadership. Our glorious revolution depends on it, and our glorious leaders command it to be so!”

“Organise the outrage! Get the wheels of the State moving and manipulate the ignorant. Send out the murderous minions and shut down all this unlicensed good cheer. The party must not be seen to approve of this unsanctioned movement. Stop the early rumblings of this pathetic prophetic Jesus movement.”

“How will we survive, if the people are encouraged to think for themselves?!”

“Herod, you must act. Remember all who oppose you are tyrants fit for only one thing – total destruction and perpetual war!”

And everybody said:

“Long may our glorious revolution, the party who enforces it, and its leader who embodies it, reign!”


Notes:

This is a hypothetical response created for the purpose of highlighting how some in the West respond to Jesus Christ. How within that response rests a resistance to Him who still confronts us in our own positions of power.

For the recount of an historical response of someone in power to the birth of Jesus Christ, see Matthew 2:16-18

[i] Weil, S. 1936 Oppression & Liberty p.109 Routledge & Kegan Paul 1958.

manger-with-yellow_jesusThe homeschool year has come to an official close. We’ve marked it for you by presenting our own arrangement of ‘Merry Merry Christmas’ from Colin Buchanan’s 2005 album, King of Christmas.

This song was a homeschooler pick. Consequently, they’re the acoustic guitarists heard in the mix. So, this arrangement was somewhat of a joint effort, and it shows some of our key learning outcomes achieved in 2016.

As for the quality of the vocals, forgive the not as-clear-as-could-be lyrics. I used an iphone to record the singing. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem, though, because the song’s lyrics have been added to the video; and given the punk-esk lyrical vibe the words aren’t very difficult to pick up.

Like the other two songs we’ve done, I’ve added my own instrumentation including bass line, piano, percussion, lead and rhythm guitars. In no way is it a professional recording nor am I trying to claim it as such. The song is best heard through a headset or something with good speakers.

This for us is just pure fun; action directed towards the heart of God.

Feliz Navidad!

rl2016-christmas-letter-with-borderInstead of writing letters to Santa Clause, we write to the Grinch. The aim is to persuade the Grinch to give Christmas a second chance.

This is our second year of using such a brilliant, practical lesson in persuasive writing. [i]

It’s quirky and fits well with our homeschooling style.

I had another focus for craft last year around this time, which meant that I had to leave out the part where we get to make a Grinch face.  This year, however, I needed a craft-filler with some level of serious coolness, so it was full steam ahead.

If, like us, you haven’t sold your kids the line about Santa Claus “bringing nice things, only if you do nice things”, this is a real alternative to the Dear Santa petitioning.

Let me follow that up by saying that I have no issue with who the modern myth of Santa is based on. Nikolaos of Myra did exist. He stood by his convictions, made some mistakes, such as punching a heretic or two and gave to help those who couldn’t help themselves.  He’s my kind of Saint; the John McClane of all Christian forebears.

What I stand opposed to is teaching kids something that will cause them to question their trust in us as parents later on in life. If we manipulated them with the Santa line, it’s only right that they’d wonder whether there were other areas where their parents weren’t being completely honest with them.

This is as psychologically abusive as any Christian parent misrepresenting the fear of God in an attempt to encourage a child to behave.

Santa Claus isn’t the problem, the lie perpetuated by the modern myth of Santa is.It’s the packaging, not necessarily the content of that packaging.

For parents, teachers and homeschoolers, speaking the truth in love should be of paramount importance. Even when there are family members who might get angry with us for not wanting to become co-conspirators in what is, in all bluntness, an outright Westernised, excessively commercial, lie.

This may seem heartless. It does to some in my own family. I ask, though, isn’t it heartless to raise kids to believe in a lie; to abandon them to figure out the truth for themselves? Isn’t it heartless to misconstrue the truth and distort reality? Not just this, but then consciously employ that lie to manipulate a child’s behaviour?

Coming from a highly dysfunctional family, I’m more accustomed to the effects of this. I acknowledge that this has left me with a slight bias. For reasons other than Santa Claus, I’ve not only experienced it, I’ve also witnessed the harm done by parents who don’t tell their children the truth and instead lead them to believe a lie; the impact of which is made worse when that lie is used to control a person’s behaviour. It doesn’t end well for either the parent or the child. [ii]

If I am going to be teaching my children about faith and reason, these need to be taught with integrity. Believing in the modern myth of Santa Claus isn’t an example of what a faith that seeks understanding looks like.

There is nothing heartless in teaching our kids the truth about Christmas; teaching them about Jesus Christ and the fuller meaning of Christmas is part of a rounded holistic education. The nativity alone confronts our inhospitable tendencies, doubts, weariness and need for rest.

In answer to the charge that I’m simply swapping belief in Santa Claus for belief in Jesus Christ, I would say, no. The context is totally different.

To begin with, I’m not teaching my kids about Jesus Christ for personal gain. It’s a gift given to them to benefit them. It’s not something I’m taking from them to benefit me. Secondly, my sources come from authorised, written historical recounts about a real historical person. Thirdly, in contradistinction to neo-Pelagianism and some well documented bad theology, I’m not teaching them that they’ll get nice things, if they do nice things.

There is no anxiety about whether Santa is happy or sad because of their behavior. There is joy in a deeper learning about the immanence of God, in Christ, who is Immanuel [God with us]. One extended by the fact that on the 25th December every year, most countries in the Western World and the church in the majority world, join together to mark what is generally considered to be the birthday of Jesus Christ.

It unifies ethnicity and draws together cultures. It opens doors and hearts to the good news, has even prompted a ceasefire, brought respite to busy workers and seen both, rich, poor, king and queen bow equally before the one who is, and was, and is to come.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
– (Isaiah 9:6, ESV)

If choosing to do this makes me the Grinch or someone like a Dickensian Scrooge, so be it.

grinch-christmas-rl2016


Notes:

[i] How the Grinch Stole Christmas Persuasive Writing Project

[ii] Sir Walter Scott’s, ”O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive” from  ‘Marmion: The Battle‘ comes to mind.