Thursday, November 14, 2019

Hidden Christmas

‘Because of the commercial indispensability of Christmas, it will remain with us as a secular festival. My fear is, however, that its true roots will become more and more hidden to most of the population. The emphasis on light in darkness comes from the Christian belief that the worlds hope comes from outside of it  The giving of gifts is a natural response to Jesus stupendous act of self-giving, when he laid aside his glory and was born  into the human race. The concern for the needy recalls the Son of God was born not into an aristocratic family but into a poor one. The Lord of the universe identified with the least and the most excluded of the human race.

These are powerful themes, but every one of them is a two-edged sword. Jesus comes as the Light because we are too spiritually blind to find our own way. Jesus become mortal and died because we are too morally ruined to be pardoned any other way. Jesus gave himself to us, and do we must give ourselves wholly to him. We are, therefore, “not [our] own (1 Cor 6:19). Christmas, like god himself, is both more wondrous and more threatening than we imagine.

Every year our increasingly secular Western society becomes more unaware of its own historical roots, many of which are the fundamentals of the Christian faith.  Yet once a year at Christmas basic truths become a bit more accessible to an enormous audience. At countless gatherings, concerts, parties and other events, even when most participants are non-religious, the essentials of the faith can sometimes become visible  As an example, let’s ask some questions of the famous Christmas carol “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” heard in shopping centres, stores, and on street corners. Who is Jesus? He is the ‘everlasting Lord’ who from ‘highest heaven’ comes down to be the ‘offspring of a virgins womb’ What did he come  do? His mission is to sin ‘’God and sinners reconciled’ How did he accomplish it? He lays his glory by that we ‘no more may die’. How ca this life be ours? Through an inward, spiritual regeneration so radical that, as we have seen, it can be called ‘the second birth.

 With brilliant economy of style, the carol gives us a summary of the entire Christian teaching.
While few of the most familiar Christmas songs and Bible readings and that comprehensive, it remains that one season a year hundreds of millions of people, if they would take the trouble to ask these kinds of questions, would have this same knowledge available to them. To understand Christmas is to understand basic Christianity, the Gospel.’

Tim Keller, Hidden Christmas, p.2-4

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