Lynn and I were discussing the meaning of Christmas one morning last week. My response was that the way we celebrate Christmas hardly represents what Christ’s birth should actually be about. Gift-giving is the centre of our celebration as we gather around enormous amounts of food and candy, paying our respects to our King and Saviour by reading the account of His birth as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. However, I wonder if we could do more to honour Christ during this special time of year.
In order to answer my own question, I am aiming to do two things this year. The first is that I will be teaching adult Sunday School on the history of Christmas at Wimborne Alliance Church on December 2 and 9. I would like to rediscover why we ever started celebrating this holiday and what it should mean to us today.
The second thing I would like to do is intentionally celebrate Advent. Advent is a four week celebration meant to stir up anticipation for Christmas Day. This is a tradition that has developed over the history of the Church and is celebrated very differently around the world.
John Piper recently published an e-book titled Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent. In the introduction he writes that “We are starving for something. And what Jesus wants for Christmas is for us to experience what we were really made for – seeing and savoring his glory.”
My goal this Christmas is to see and savour God’s glory through celebrating the incarnation of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. By going back and rediscovering how this holiday began, and by celebrating advent, I hope to move toward that goal.
Advent begins on December 2 this year and continues until Christmas Day. I plan to publish on my blog a short advent devotional each morning leading up to Christmas Day. This devotional will combine notes from the daily reading from Piper’s book, as well as some of my own research on the history of Christmas.
I hope you will join me in celebrating Christ’s birth this year. May His Name be honoured and His church be encouraged!