Here we are—another Christmas Eve. It’s a night full of magic, mysticism, and wonder—the Light and holy version of Halloween, when the tenuous division between our corporeal existence and the supernatural world is thin.
Last year I wrote of my family’s Christmas Eve traditions, which are changing up a bit again this year. In lieu of the usual evening candlelight service, we’re going to an afternoon service at a church in my younger brother’s neck of the woods. Afterwards, we’ll be enjoying Chinese food—a newer tradition for us—and some fondue, a tradition from my sister-in-law’s side of the family. We’re beginning to sound like 1970s Jews on Christmas.
Here’s wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas tomorrow—and some Christmas Eve merriment tonight! With that, here is 24 December 2019’s “Christmas Eve“:
“Christmas Eve” – My brief riff on Christmas Eve, which I characterized as “the most magical, mystical part of Christmas time,” this post explores that mysticism—that sense of ancient legacy and tradition—inherit in the night Christ was born.
“Christmas and Its Symbols” – This post features analysis of a daily devotional from Daily Encouraging Word, which discussed the symbols of Christmas. We Protestants tend to be practical, literal folks, but we lost some of the magic and mystery of the season—and of our faith more generally—when we abandoned symbolism for literalism. Christ and Christianity took old pagan symbols and repurposed them to tell the Good News of the Gospels. Talk about meeting potential converts where they are.
“Singing Christmas Carols with Kids” – I’m blessed to teach music for a living, and a substantial portion of my side income comes from teaching private lessons. This post celebrates the fun and joy of singing Christmas carols with young people, an activity which links us to our ancestors and our faith.
That’s it for this pre-Christmas Sunday. Stay warm, have fun, and have a Merry Christmas!
Last night I attended a men’s monthly Bible study at a church in Lamar. My neighbors had been inviting me for a couple of months, but when that mythical third Monday would roll around, I’d always have some outstanding obligation (mainly rehearsal for the Spooktacular). Since I’m running for Town Council again in January, I figured it would be good to feed my soul and my political ambitions simultaneously (they also brought sub sandwiches, so I was pretty well-fed holistically by the time I left).
The evening was spiritually, culturally, and politically encouraging. These men were fired up for Jesus, our country, and Trump, in that order. After everybody caught up a bit and after some introductions (I was the new guy at the meeting), the conversation gradually turned to politics, starting (I believe) with the necessity for a border wall, and Biden’s hare-brained pledge to tear it down.
From there, it was a free-ranging discussion, including vigorous airings of grievances; laments for the state of our nation; pledges to resist excessive government mandates; and repeated admonitions to trust in God. Our Scripture reading was Psalm 138. The Psalm is a reminder that God is in control, and will support us in our hour of need. Here’s verse 7, from the New King James Version:
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.
It’s hard to believe it, but Christmas is nearly here! As a child, the anticipation seemed too much to bear, and the calendar from Halloween to Christmas seemed to stretch into endless, soggy days.
Christmas Eve is always the most magical, mystical part of Christmas time. Popular depictions of Jesus’ Birth take place, presumably, on Christmas Eve—the angels bursting into the black, silent night above Bethlehem. The whole event is supernatural—the Virgin Birth, the Star guiding the way to the manger, the angels appearing to the shepherds and singing. Tradition has it that even the animals in the manger talked at the moment of Christ’s birth (at exactly midnight, of course). If the rocks can cry out, singing praises to Him, why not some donkeys?