Recovering Christmas

On Sunday I will begin a series of 6 sermons on “Recovering Christmas.” My ambitions may exceed my abilities (or the time allowed), but in this series I am trying to draw together several themes:

1) What are the historical roots of Christmas as we know it? How did the holiday evolve into its current forms? I will trace how the Christian church tried to influence what was at one time a purely pagan ritual and infuse it with the gospel. Did you know that historically Christmas was more like modern day Mardi Gras so much so that the Puritans banned its celebration in the colonies? Is Christmas returning to its pagan heritage? Has it ever really forsaken it? How can we infuse Christmas with the gospel again?

2) What parts of Christmas are Biblical, what parts are merely traditional, and what parts are completely commercial? Some people may think that some of the elements we associate with Christmas came out of the Bible when in actuality they come from sources such as Charles Dickens. What is the true Biblical story of Christmas? 

3) Christmas is full of decorations. It is easy to become so cluttered with decorations that the gospel is choked out of Christmas completely. Yet here we will explore some of the symbols and rituals of Christmas the church has used through the centuries to help communicate the gospel message. What are some simple things you can do as a family to recover the meaningful messages and symbols of Christmas?

4) Finally, we are in the midst of a recession, or are we? Who knows? In any event, Christmas has become expensive and complicated. What are some practical ways you and your family can cut the budget and recover the simplicity of Christmas?

I promise you two things with this series. 1) I am not going to demand that we throw our Christmas trees to the curb and be bored in Jesus name this Christmas. This will not be a call for legalism! 2) I promise you that I will not be preaching 2 hour sermons for the next 6 weeks. Although, as I have been researching for this series there is no doubt enough material here for some lengthy presentations. Perhaps I will blog as we move forward and point you to some resources along the way. That way, we may not only save ourselves from lengthy sermons, but also foster a profitable and resourceful dialogue. Let’s work creatively this year to recover Christmas.


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