Regent

Christmas thoughts

Although Christmas has passed, here’s an entry by Gordon Smith that puts Christmas in perspective. (I’m a little biased b/c he was a professor of mine @ Regent.) Definitely some interesting thoughts for the Church in combatting the issues of contemporary, consumeristic Christmas.

I’ve copied and included the entire entry below:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas: a feast of the Church

My
mother used to always make this point – and it needs to be made again
and again. That Christmas is the Feast of the church, it is not the
Feast of the family. It is really only in Western culture that
Christmas has become equated with family time and family celebrations,
as a chance for the family to get together to affirm family, be family
and cultivate our sense of family. But does this miss the point?

Is
not the Christ-Mass the feast of the bride of Christ, who in
anticipation of Christ’s second coming gather to celebrate together his
first advent here? Have we bought into some time of cultural norm and
ideal for the family when Christmas Eve and Christmas day are
opportunities for families to gather rather than sustain a truly
Christian vision such that Christmas is first and foremost a time for
the people of God to meet together to celebrate the grand wonder of the
Incarnation our Lord?

While
there are certainly Evangelical church groups that will meet on
Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, my wife and I typically will attend
so called “mainline” or historic church worship events at these times.
They have, on the whole, been those who have sustained a greater
awareness of who it is that it is most important that we see and meet
with in this season – our sisters and brothers in Christ. And for me,
it needs to include the celebration of the Lord’s Supper – the supreme
act by which the church affirms the wonder of the incarnation in that
Christ would eventually hold these very elements and say those immortal
words: “this is my body.” And this is all set up, of course, with the
Incarnation.

The
great Lord’s Supper (or Eucharistic) hymn, “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep
Silence,” is very much a Christmas hymn . . . and I wish we would sing
it in church at this time of the year. Perhaps, especially, on
Christmas Eve as we gather as the community of faith, at the Lord’s
Supper – and sing the whole hymn, but notably the second verse which
reads:

“King of kings, yet born of woman,

As of old on earth He stood,

Lord of lords, in human vesture –

In the body and the blood –

He will give to all the faithful

His own self for heavenly food.

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