Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Christmas is Coming

Angels are dancing in Albert Square, central Manchester ... the Christmas lights are on. This year the square hosts a traditional Christmas tree surrounded by three angels with trumpets. How faithful to the original Christmas story! Angels announced Christ's birth to Mary and Joseph before the event, and to the shepherds immediately afterwards.

There are two problems though. First the angels are surrounded by a metal ring-fence, so one has to appreciate them from a distance. Second, the whole of Albert Square is swamped by a Christmas market, which quite diminishes the effect of the festive decorations.

This is representative of modern society's approach to Christmas. If we are to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas at all, then we only do so remotely, from quite a distance. Get close to Christmas this year! Think about the historical narrative in the Gospel records. Think about the apostolic interpretation in the Epistles.

Then again, don't let your Christmas be overcome by rampant consumerism. The Christmas Spirit isn't shopping! Recall the baby born in obscurity - heaven's riches exchanged for earth's poverty. (2 Cor 8v9).


Benjamin said...

Don't forget the tree, the Roman-era vestige from the orgiastic Saturnalia, when pine boughs were hung for their scent and slaves were given temporary freedom. And never mind that the only surviving historical records suggest Jesus was born in the Spring (shepherding in Winter?). Or that the date selection was a Church political tool. Or that the modern holiday was basically developed by American entrepreneurs. Christmas was just as "religious" when it was a bunch of Nords crouching in the snow to hide from Oden. More so, if you ask the Puritans. So: You guys have 364 other days on which to be holy-rollers. Let Christmas be for us, those who just want to spread some cheer, give a little to charity, see family and old friends (and maybe get a little drunk) and therefore don't need to concern ourselves with the intermingling of business and somebody's second coming.

jeremy said...

Redemption is one of the defining features of Christian theology. I think it applies nicely to Christmas. I agree that there is certainly strong evidence to suggest that Winter Solstice was hijacked by the early church calendar to become the Christmas festival. But this is redemption in action! Perhaps the church took something pagan and converted it into something Christian.
God redeems people in a similar way. He takes
natural, earthly people and turns them into spiritual, heavenly people. Ephesians 1:7