Dricoll’s tips I want to remember 2,4,6,11
Driscoll’s tips I need to remember 3,9,10,15
Being a parent at Christmas is probably one of the biggest challenges of the year. But Jen Hatmaker’s post The Christmas Conundrum is quite simply the best thing (on web or in print) that I’ve read for parents seeking to navigate through the priorities and pitfalls of Christmas. If you read one thing on parenting this Christmas this is it.
‘We all know it. We all feel it. Every year we bear this tension. Each December, the world feels off kilter. But in the absence of a better plan or an alternative rhythm or – let’s just say it – courage, we feed the machine yet again, giving Jesus lip service while teaching our kids to ask Santa for whatever they want, because, you know, that’s really what Christmas boils down to.
I just cannot take it anymore, yall. I cannot.’
Happy reading, and of course, a happy Christmas.
(HT: Aimee Bentall)
“Winter Snow” (featuring Audrey Assad) from Chris Tomlin’s new Christmas album called “Glory In The Highest”
(HT: Andy Fenton)
Be happy, young man, while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth – Ecclesiastes 11:9
(HT: Ian Middlemist)
Did you catch the BBCs screening of The Nativity over the Christmas period? (if not catch it here while you can). The screenplay was written by Tony Jordan best known for writing 250 episodes of EastEnders and more recently Life on Mars. In a fascinating interview in The Telegraph he tells of his own personal journey from scepticism to belief.
“I don’t come from a religious background and I don’t think I’m anybody’s fool. I was expelled from school at 14. I’ve been in trouble. I know that people from my sort of background have always discounted the story of the nativity and I certainly didn’t believe it when I started on it three years ago. But now I do.”
“The only thing I know for sure is that the words I read as coming from Jesus Christ are the most truthful thing I have ever heard. As a blueprint for mankind, it is so smart that it couldn’t even have come from a clever philosopher. Who would have been smart enough to say ‘He who is without sin cast the first stone’? Wow! That’s pretty cool.”
Even the virgin birth is taken in its stride:
‘If you accept that Jesus is Son of God, why would you not believe that Mary was a virgin, and that God must have had some handin the impregnation?’
It suggests to me that the biggest challenge that Christians face is in inspiring people to read the Bible for themselves. Perhaps the biggest barrier to faith is the beginning – once people start the journey many continue it to its destinations end.
Certainly it’s been my experience that once people meet Jesus on his own terms and take time to understand him that the cynicism faces and many find themselves drawn to him. There is something beautiful, compelling, attractive about the man, his message and his mission.
For a great review of The Nativity from a Christian perspective check out Mark Meynell’s blog here.
For an extended interview with Tony Jordan try this (with thanks to Mark Meynell).
The supreme mystery with which the gospel confronts us [is] not in the Good Friday message of atonement, nor in the Easter message of reconciliation, but in the Christmas message of incarnation. The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man – that the second person of the Godhead became the ‘second man’ (1 Cor. 15:47), determining human destiny, the second representative head of the race, and that He took humanity without loss of deity, so that Jesus of Nazareth was as truly and fully divine as He was human.
Here are two mysteries for the price of one – the plurality of persons within the unity of God, and the union of Godhead and manhood in the person of Jesus. It is here, the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. ‘The Word was made flesh’ (John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child.
And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the incarnation.
JI Packer – Knowing God
Wishing you a wonderful and worshipful Christmas!
A few weeks ago parents at our church met to discuss parenting and Christmas. The question we were all wanting an answer to was the obvious one – ‘What do we tell our kids about Santa?’
Essentially you can do four things with the Father Christmas tradition; ignore it, embrace it, build on it or knock it down.
Ignore Father Christmas
You might wish Santa away but the reality is that you can’t ignore him. Whether it’s Santa coming to nursery or the conversations your kids are having with their friends or remarks of well-meaning non-Christian family or even the woman at the supermarket checkout everyone will be asking your child ‘are you looking forward to seeing what Father Christmas will bring?’ We may wish the problem away but it’s not going away.
Embrace Father Christmas
Some Christians ask ‘why not simply join in the fun?’ and they embrace the story of Christmas, Rudolph and all.
But we had a few concerns:
- There is a difference between fun fairy tales and the things we ask our children to believe in
- If we seek to celebrate Christmas as a story about Jesus and at exactly the same time Christmas as a story about Santa (and the presents) Santa will always win first place in own children’s hearts!
- The attributes of Santa mirror the attributes of God e.g. He sees everything you do, he can be everywhere in the world in one night, he gives good gifts, he’s a famous ‘old man’ in the sky and yet he rewards on the basis of being good quite the opposite Continue reading »
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