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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Unprecedented

It’s a white Boxing Day in Memphis after flurries (that didn’t stick) on Christmas Day.  Both very unusual, but not unprecedented.

This morning I began to read Luke.  What strikes many readers in chapter 1 is that Zach and Mary seems to have similar responses to the angelic promises, yet Zach gets struck mute in judgment.  Mary’s concerns seem to be valid:  “How on earth will this happen, since I’m a virgin?”

But Zach’s concern seems justified to modern readers as well.  We all know about being too old to reproduce, and we all know about being barren.

One big difference here is that Zach, being “righteous in God’s sight” (1:6), should have known his salvation history well enough not to doubt that God could give life to a dead womb.  It wasn’t frequent, but it certainly happened, and if an angel of YHWH showed up to tell you that grace was falling on you, there was really no option but trusting the God of Abram and Sarai and buying a skin of wine to split with Elizabeth.

But Mary’s pregnancy had no precursor.  Her question for clarification shows that something new was happening in salvation history, something that was even greater than what happened for Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah.

The Messiah came in an unprecedented fashion, precisely because he himself was unprecedented.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

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And another Christmas gem from the greatest singer-songwriter in Memphis (my opinion, which is nearly infallible).

 

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A Few Christmas Gems

(1)  The story of the 1914 ceasefires in the trenches of WWI may say more about humanity’s love for soccer (“football”) than about humanity’s love for each other.  But it says something and it is worth a read.

(2)  My friend Gerald has written a beautiful Christmas poem.

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Silent Night

This is an article written by Eamonn Brennan of ESPN about a great Christmas tradition at Taylor University-

Taylor University is an NAIA liberal arts Christian college in Upland, Ind.,and has perhaps the best hoops-slash-Christmas tradition in the whole wide world. That sounds like hyperbole, but it’s not that far off.

What is this fabled tradition? It’s called “Silent Night.” Every year around Christmastime, Taylor students and fans pack the school’s gym as they would any other game. Only on “Silent Night,” the crowd dresses in pajamas and stays absolutely silent until Taylor scores its 10th point of the game. What happens then? Bedlam.

In fact, it’s probably best you just watch the video for yourself:

Yep. Bedlam.

 
The Christmas-y fun doesn’t stop there. In the closing moments of the game, Taylor fans unite for a singing of “Silent Night,” and then reconvene for a school-wide Christmas party called Christmas Fandango where the school president reads the Christmas story, students compete in gingerbread house-making contests and children tell Santa what they want for Christmas.

In other words, if you don’t like Christmas — and yes, plenty of people do not like Christmas, including my roommate — do not go to Upland, Ind., on “Silent Night.” You probably wouldn’t like it.

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Joyeux Noel

The video above is from my second favorite Christmas movie (first is “It’s a Wonderful Life”), Joyeux Noel. It is the story of the French, German and Scottish soldiers on the frontlines in World War I who call a truce on Christmas Eve and celebrate Christmas together. I don’t want to give too much away, other than to say that the experience transforms the soldiers. The clip above is of Christmas Eve night, as a German opera singer stationed on the frontline sings “Silent Night” to his fellow soldiers. The first song is the Scottish soldiers singing “Dreaming of Home”. It occurs a couple of times in the movie, and reminds us that at Christmas, our celebration is rooted in our longing for Home.

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Better Days

This is one of my favorite “Christmas songs”, Better Days by the Goo Goo Dolls:

And you ask me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days
Cuz I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings
And desire and love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight’s the night the world begins again

And it’s someplace simple where we could live
And something only you can give
And thats faith and trust and peace while we’re alive
And the one poor child that saved this world
And there’s 10 million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight’s the night the world begins again

I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight’s the night the world begins again
Cuz tonight’s the night the world begins again

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