It's the most wonderful time of the year!

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It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Postby MatthewNeal » Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:36 pm

Merry Christmas everyone!

Do you have a favorite Christmas story you'd be willing to share with us?

Or tell us... what, to you, is the most meaningful spiritual truth about our Lord's incarnation?

How about some meaningful Christmas traditions you have that help you and/or your family keep focussed on the "Reason for the Season"?

If it's anything wonderful and encouraging about Christmas, please let us enjoy it, too!

Thanks!

Matt
Last edited by MatthewNeal on Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MatthewNeal » Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:52 pm

It was pointed out to me by one of our members that he was not able to post anything in response to my request for Christmas stories because he had not achieved the membership level required to post in the "Worship in Devotional Thoughts" forum.

My apologies to you all! I intended for you all to be able to post in this strip!

So... now you can! I can't wait to hear your stories!

Matt
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Christmas

Postby Merwin Van Doornik » Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:28 pm

Well, Matt, these aren't stories but they are 2 quotes that are enriching my soul this Advent/Christmas season. One is new; the other very old;

THE NEW: "We celebrate that the Babe of Bethlehem continues to flex mighty muscles in our world!" (Anonymous)

THE OLD: "There are 3 comings of our Lord:
- the first in the flesh;
- the second in the soul;
- the third in judgment.

"The first coming was humble and hidden;
the second is mysterious and full of love;
the third will be majestic and terrible.

"In His first, a lamb;
in His third, a lion;
in the one between the two, the tenderest of friends."

(Peter of Blois, 12th century)
Loving Christ above all; loving people & naturism a close second!
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Postby LivingFree » Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:28 am

When we were raising our family, I wanted to find a way to de-emphasize all the gift-giving and the Santa-sightings, so we decided (1) there would be one gift from the parents, or one from each one at times, and (2) we would let them open the presents from each set of grandparents (both lived far away and sent them by mail) one or two days before Christmas. Then on Christmas Eve we would gather around the tree with our children, read the Christmas story from Luke, talk about the gifts God had given us that year, offer a prayer of thanks, and then open our family presents. The other benefit to that was that on one day they could focus on the love of one set of grandparents, and the next day they could focus on the love of the other set of grandparents, and not get so overloaded with new toys that they lost track of what it all meant.

Now my son brings his family to Grandpa and Grandma's sometime during the week between Christmas and New Years Day, and he always requests that I read the Christmas story before we open our gifts.

This year I've thought about doing a brief "Readings and Carols" so we can sing together, also.
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Postby Strandloper » Sat Dec 16, 2006 3:52 am

Hi, folks –
this is a topical discussion at this time of year, although I would prefer to withhold my Christmas greetings until the 25th (or the 24th at the earliest).
We are, of course, used to the modern idea that Christmas is a season that can last a month or more and ends on the 25th. But the older tradition is that it starts on the 25th and runs through until 6 January.
There are many who reject that tradition on the grounds of its being mediæval or Catholic, but I find it a preferable one to emphasise over the arrival of a non-religious Xmas that might be indicated as early as October by decorations in shopping malls.
The cycle of 12 days runs from the birth of Christ (of which I have more to say on another thread) to the circumcision of the Christ Child (New Year’s Day) to Epiphany (6 January, also called Twelfth Night), which recalls the arrival of the Wise Men.
In the Orthodox churches Epiphany is by far the more important festival, since it signifies the introduction of the Christ Child to Gentiles.
But in many churches Epiphany is ignored, and the Wise Men are incorporated holus-bolus into the story of the birth, which is not supported by Scripture.
For that matter, the traditional creche (a tableau of the stable with Mary, Joseph, ox, ass and shepherds) is nowadays usually seen with the baby as part of the scene from the time it is first mounted, whereas the proper tradition is to put the babe in the manger on the night of the 24th, and then to hold back on adding the Wise Men until Twelfth Night.
In any case, there is reason to believe that the entire tradition of the stable is mistaken. See http://www.geocities.com/saintsnseasons/NatalE.html
The traditions I refer to are the traditions of the Church, and I know well enough that Matt was referring to specific family traditions. But I will have to return to that in another posting.
Shalom,
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Postby LivingFree » Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:35 pm

Strandloper,

I would love to live my life over again, with a wife that agrees with me regarding the traditions of Christmas. I would love to simply ignore the commercialism of our world, gather around the Advent Wreath with the children on each of four Sundays, then light the Christ Candle on Dec. 25th, conduct family worship, and do something special as a family for the twelve days succeeding until the day of Epiphany.

Obviously, even Epiphany is a contrived date, just as Christmas is a contrived date. And what really annoys me is making the 24th into the evening of the actual birth of our Lord. Who's to say but that it didn't happen until the evening of the 25th? My birthday is on the 11th of June, but no one has ever suggested celebrating on the eve of the 10th!

However, thanks for the link, and the revelation from the Greek that the Gr. term for "stable" is really guest room. In fact, Luke 22:11 and Mark 14:14 uses the same term for the guest room where Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples! But the Greek lexicon by Arndt and Gingrich, likely the most widely acclaimed lexicon in use today, also translates the term in Luke 2:7 as "inn." It also cites numerous other non-biblical references to the word, but not having those references available, it's hard to say exactly in what ways that term was used. But again, thanks for that link. It provides something for us to ponder.
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Jesus' Stocking

Postby MatthewNeal » Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:41 pm



Jesus' Stocking

One of the things we have tried to do in our family is to include as stocking for Jesus which we open on Christmas Day.

Only, we don't put gifts per se in the stocking, we record on a slip of paper any special kindness, generosity, unselfishness, or some other significant item and put it in the stocking. Then we will read those together on Christmas day... these things are our gifts to Jesus!

One particular year, I remember going through the stocking and pulling out all the papers to read. When I had finished, I thought I would just double check to make sure I got them all.

Sure enough, I found one more small paper down in the toe of the stocking...

And it said this:

"[our daughter] gave her heart to Jesus!"

You can imagine how I had to fight back tears of joy at that moment!

Merry Christmas!

Matt
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Postby MatthewNeal » Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:30 pm

Time to close this thread for the year! (past time, actually!)

I'll open another for next year.

Thanks to those who contributed!

Matt

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