Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas AND Seasons Greetings

This drawing appeared in the New York Times this morning (Attached to an article, It's A Narnia Christmas by Laura Miller.)    It drew my mind back to last night's teaching.  I haven't included the entire teaching last night, but some of the opening comments.

What is Christmas?

“What is Christmas?”  That is a question I have asked for some time.  I got a lot mixed signals growing up.  Mel Torme told me that Christmas is:

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Jack Frost nipping at your nose

Which, of course left out any notion of decking the halls with boughs of holly, something that we never managed to do at my house. 

Now, I do know that Christmas has something to do with dashing through the snow, and being from Western New York, I have done that, though never in a one horse open sleigh.   But even now that I am married to my true love, I have yet to receive 12 drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French Hens, two turtle doves, not even one single partridge in a pear tree. 

I have dreamed of a white Christmas but haven’t had that dream come true much in Texas.  I even remember as a child during one unusually warm December saying, “It’s not really Christmas if it doesn’t snow!”

I love all of these images, because they remind me of a wonderful time of year.  They represent family and love and the magic of this time of the year and I embrace them.  But, one of the things I try to do in Advent is clarify.  I try to clarify what things are good in a sentimental way and what things are clearly about Jesus Christ.  They are both good.  We can embrace the secular and the sentimental.  We can embrace things that are about family and even things that are just about winter itself.  But, it is good to reflect on what is what and which is which that we might remember to worship that which is truly Christmas, our savior Jesus Christ.



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