Sometimes, says Tim Keller, "you don't realize that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have."
Or let's turn that around. Sometimes, you realize that if all you have is Jesus, then you have all you need.
Perhaps, like me, you have been guilty of thinking of the Christmas narrative as the prelude to the reign of Jesus. Yes, he comes as Immanuel, the King, but he is restrained until adulthood because, after all, he's just a baby lying there in that manger.
I will write later this week on the concept of war and peace and the Incarnation. Until then, enjoy the following video -- another Christmas advertisement for Sainsbury's (same British chain that did the Mog's Christmas Calamity piece I blogged about on December 8) that commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Eve truce, which took place on December 24, 1914.
Image from The Nativity Story
Charles Haddon Spurgeon on visiting and merriment and holy joy at Christmas:
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And Mary said, My soul does magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Luke 1:46-47
Mary was on a visit when she expressed her joy in the language of this noble song. It were well if all our social communion were as useful to our hearts as this visit was to Mary.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16)
A special little Christmas
from Chapter 2 of Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
Jo was the first to wake in the gray dawn of Christmas morning. No stockings hung at the fireplace, and for a moment she felt as much disappointed as she did long ago, when her little sock fell down because it was crammed so full of goodies. Then she remembered her mother's promise and, slipping her hand under her pillow, drew out a little crimson-covered book. She knew it very well, for it was that beautiful old story of the best life ever lived, and Jo felt that it was a true guidebook for any pilgrim going on a long journey. She woke Meg with a "Merry Christmas," and bade her see what was under her pillow. A green-covered book appeared, with the same picture inside, and a few words written by their mother, which made their one present very precious in their eyes. Presently Beth and Amy woke to rummage and find their little books also, one dove-colored, the other blue, and all sat looking at and talking about them, while the east grew rosy with the coming day.
One of the things my husband regularly reminds me of during this time of year, when he wants to gain points with me, is that though he moved me from Florida to Pittsburgh, at least it wasn't any farther north.
It's mid-December. Right at this moment I have a child climbing around in the crawlspace in the attic looking for the bin of bows and ribbons that was clearly mis-stored last year. The tree is up, the lights have been hung throughout the house, seasonal "fru-fru" candles are burning, packages are arriving daily by mail (none yet by drone). You'd think we were anticipating something special.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon on celebrating Christmas:
We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, ...not of divine authority.
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." (Luke 2:10-12.)
Why is it that the coming of Christ into the world is the occasion of joy?
Perhaps. I'm kind of partial to stories of pets saving the day.
Mog's Christmas Calamity
"Presenting the new Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert. Mog sets off a chain of unfortunate events which almost ruin Christmas for the Thomas family. Can she pull it all back to save the day?
Michael Caine's greatest role is, without a doubt, the frog-exploiting, bunny-bullying, rat-terrorizing Ebenezer Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol. Providing my children's generation their first exposure to the holiday classic, the 1992 adaptation of the 1843 Charles Dickens novel (filmed after Muppet creator Jim Henson's death in 1990) softened the sharp edges of the Scrooge character and made the ghost visitations more palatable for G audiences of the time.
From Thanks2Giving '15
Return to Thinking again
From Thanks2Giving '16
December 1: Being a Pilgrim for Christmas
December 2: Craving Christmas, Desiring Christ
December 3: Strangers on Christmas Day
December 4: Hail Redemption's Happy Dawn!
December 5: Eureka!
December 6: O Henry, the Magi, and the Gift
December 7: Christmas Impersonators
December 8: This Year's Best Christmas Ad?
December 9: Why So Much Joy?
December 10: Where is the Method in the Madness?
December 11: Waiting for Redemption
December 12: Winter for a Reason
December 13: A Special Little Christmas
December 14: Mary and Holy Merriment
December 15: The Christmas Eve Truce
December 16: His Name Shall Be Jesus
December 17: C.B. and the Meaning of Christmas
December 18: Peace, Not Peace
December 19: Moonless Darkness Stands Between
December 20: He Makes Room for Us
December 21: Speaking of Glory . . .
December 22: A Christmas Carol That's Not About Christmas
December 23: Lessons Learned from Lean Christmases
December 24: All My Heart This Night Rejoices
December 25: The Neverending Gift Exchange
A Concluding Note: Do Not Open Until Christmas 2016
Laura Miller, home for the holidays