Christmas round-up

Well, here it is, Merry Christmas… the annual season of shopping madness, mass consumer frenzy and over-indulgence, family re-unions and soaring divorce rates, TV re-runs and daft specials, terrified turkeys and terrible jokes, oh, and some kid in a manger.

In the news, it looks like Pope Francis has set a new standard in painful Christmas get-togethers with his papal address to the Vatican Curia… good on you, Frank… I have a feeling it’s what Jesus might have done, never one to mince his words…

And in a small ray of Christmas hope, apparently the annual London homicide rate is set to fall below 100 for the first time in over 40 years, clearly proving that we’re getting better as a species… if we could just ignore reports of Islamic State brutality and all the other litany of human inhumanity which doesn’t stop for Christmas.

And as it is the season of repeats and unwanted gifts, I’m hereby generously bestowing on you all my previous posts that have anything whatsoever to do with the Christmas season:

Merry Christmas and bah humbug
A jaded look at the festive season, and why I both hate and love Christmas. Join me in a spot of seasonal bah-humbuggery.

Questioning Christmas – the gospel accounts
Why are Luke and Matthew’s nativity narratives so utterly different?

Questioning Christmas – was Jesus really born of a virgin?
And does it really matter? I investigate, and conclude quite possibly to the first, and probably not to the second.

Questioning Christmas: The Star of Bethlehem
What was the star that Matthew’s Magi followed – supernatural, astronomical, astrological, theological or all of the above?

Incarnation and imagination – and a defence of Christmas carols
Why it’s okay for carols to be historically inaccurate.

The nightmare after Christmas – the dark side of the Nativity
The other side of the festive season – massacres, mental illness and another mother called Mary.

The horrors and joys of Christmas music
In which I lambast Christmas tunes and then add to the horror by contributing a couple of my own.

TEL-approved Christmas music
And finally, a fine selection of seasonal alternatives to ‘A Spaceman Came Travelling’, mainly classical if you like that sort of thing.

Merry Christmas one and all!

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About TheEvangelicalLiberal

Aka Harvey Edser. I'm a web editor, worship leader, wannabe writer, very amateur composer and highly unqualified armchair theologian. My heroes include C.S. Lewis and Homer Simpson.
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4 Responses to Christmas round-up

  1. Tanya says:

    Hey Harvey, I know this is a bit off topic, but I have a question about the Bible which has been bothering me for a long time: there is one part where Jesus says (after doing a miracle) that those who follow him will do “greater things than these”, but clearly that has not happened. This question actually was brought once more to the forefront of my mind after hearing of a pastor in kenya who drowned after attempting to walk on water. I have asked my University chaplain and also Christian friends about this question, and have had not had any satisfactory answer, so I wondered if you had any thoughts?

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    • Hi Tanya, I’m always up for a bit of off-topic and I can’t resist a good theological question! I might even have to write a full post on this one some time, but for now and off the top of my head, I think there are a few ways we could understand this rather tricky passage.

      #1. Jesus didn’t actually say it, or the disciples misunderstood / misremembered – always a faint possibility, but I’m going to assume it’s not the case 🙂

      #2. Jesus did say it but we’ve misinterpreted it – he didn’t mean we’d do greater miracles, but something else. The possibilities here are probably quite numerous, and it might help to know the original Greek (which I sadly don’t). It could perhaps be that Jesus was saying that the miracles themselves weren’t all that big a deal, and that we would do more important things if we followed him – such as acts of reconciliation and forgiveness.

      #3. Jesus said it and meant it as it sounds, but the church mostly hasn’t lived in the light of that – that’s certainly what many Charismatics and Pentecostals believe. So by this view we all could be performing miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit, but we don’t, maybe through lack of faith or whatever. I used to believe this, but I tend not to now for various reasons… but maybe that just demonstrates my lack of faith!

      What I would say though is that I don’t think Jesus meant for us to go around trying to walk on water, or perform miracles for the sake of it. If there’s a genuine need for a miracle then I wouldn’t totally discount the possibility of it happening, but I don’t believe that the miraculous events themselves were ever the most important thing about Jesus’ ministry.

      Nonetheless, that’s a very sad story about the Kenyan pastor.

      Does any of that help at all?

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      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Evan, I prefer answer #2. Jesus’ work was local and foundational; it was left to us to spread the community of the Father globally. We have done much of that, though I think we have also spread a lot of baggage in our message–to everyone’s misfortune.

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        • Hi Tim, yes, I think you’re right and that seems to me the best interpretation of some slightly puzzling words. What Jesus did was amazing, but his work was inevitably limited in scope to the people of his area and time. We may not perform greater wonders than he did, but as a global community we can do much more altogether – so long as we keep re-focusing on what you aptly call Jesus Without the Baggage…

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