A few years ago, inspired by my grandfather's excellent devotional books (so far there are two, Creekside Chats and Creekside Conversations, with a third on the way in the new year) I decided to write a series of devotionals myself. The devotional format is difficult because the short length of each entry requires a kind of disciplined and economical writing style that I have never had. I titled the now dead project Christian Meditations, with the idea that my job as a writer is to inspire others to meditate on the implications of their faith.
My two favorite meditations were on Christmas, a holiday which I have been trying unsuccessfully to take back from Wal Mart and shopping malls for as long as I've realized that there's more to it that the toys I got as a kid.
Christianity, first and foremost, is the religion of incarnation. In the Christian doctrine of incarnation we have the simple but profound idea that God is not just some sort of distant cosmic organizer. In incarnation we understand that God came near to us to show us love, and to give us fuller, richer, more meaningful (abundant, not just eternal) lives.
While Christmas was not celebrated in the early church (Easter, the celebration of resurrection, was once the dominant Christian holiday - Christmas has only recently overtaken it in part because of all of the gift giving which drives our economy), Christmas is the day of incarnation. At Christmas we celebrate the coming of God incarnate in Jesus the Christ.
I'm taking a bit of a vacation for Christmas, so instead of writing new posts I am instead giving you my two Meditations on Christmas, "Jesus Wept" and "Prince of Peace". Each of these brief meditations are designed to help reclaim the holiday (and "holiday" means "holy day," a day set aside for a sacred purpose) from the commercial elements which are sucking the sacred out of our world more than any of the so-called liberal attacks on Christmas.
I hope that you have a Merry Christmas, and I hope that these Meditations on Christmas will inspire you to more fuller consider the implications of your faith during this sacred time.
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