Above: The Traditional Site of the Birth of Jesus, at the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Israel
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2016
O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Revised Common Lectionary lists three sets of readings for Christmas Day.
Luke 2:1-14, (15-20)
Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20
Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)
I choose to list the scriptural citations for Christmas Day and proceed to my thoughts.
December 25 is the first day of Christmas; January 5 is the last. There are twelve days of Christmas. So I encourage everyone to think in terms of this sacred time, not commercial time. I live in North America, where many retailers put out their Christmas displays before Halloween. History tells me that many Evangelicals over time have either ignored Christmas (as too Roman Catholic) or preferred it as a secular, commercial celebration of the family, or complained about excessive commercialization. (They have correct in this matter only in the last example. For more details, follow this link: http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/nineteenth-century-evangelical-support-for-a-secular-christmas/.)
So I hope you, O reader, will keep a sacred Christmas season without falling into crankiness about crass commercialism. Life is too short to be habitually irritated. Let us enjoy God instead.
I refer you also to this post: http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/why-december-25-is-christmas-day/.
We bore the image of God yet disregarded God, gave God inadequate attention, mistreated each other, institutionalized injustice, and misunderstood divine demands.
So God spoke through the Prophets.
Yet we persisted in our misguided ways.
So Love descended, became one of us (yet much more), and demonstrated righteousness.
We murdered Love.
Yet God raised Love from the dead.
We persist in our misguided ways.
And God is still speaking.
Are we listening?
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JUNE 4, 2010 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF JOHN XXIII, BISHOP OF ROME
Edited on November 26, 2011