Tuesday, December 16, 2008

thinking Christmas

Helpful post on Christmas, church, mission and the Simpsons. The evangelical church as Comic Book Guy.

“Imagine Christmas as being like a giant bookstore, with a range of books; some serious, some populist, some trashy, some noble. Every book is a “Christmas” book though, of course, not every book is equal. People are browsing and choosing, talking and comparing. It’s an active and buzzing place – most people are not sure why they are there, but they are trying to make sense of it and trying to have a little fun. Do we really want to be hanging out in the comics section, chugging a slurpy and passing judgement on the people who “don’t get it?”

Which sits beautifully alongside yesterday’s Lectionary reading; Daniel 5:11, in which Daniel is described as “chief of the fortune-tellers, magicians, wizards and astrologers.” Most Christians would run a mile from that sort of ministry and would love to condemn those in such a ministry. Yet Daniel was able to honour God in the midst of a hot bed of alternative spiritualities.

Last Advent, I was preaching in our evening service. I got up and started reading the horoscopes from the local newspaper. You could hear a pin drop, and lots of uncomfortable feet shuffling! Generally, people like me at Opawa, but this was really pushing things. And then I started talking about the wise men, who followed their horoscopes to Jesus.

So how do the magi help us learn about God? The question takes me back to my introduction, some of you were probably a bit shocked, with me reading the horoscope. Same sort of shock in Matthews’s church when they heard about magi. For a Jew, following stars was idol worship. And so by including magi, Matthew is telling us that all sorts of people can seek Jesus, and they are not always from folks we’d prefer. That Jesus is not just Savior of his Israel! But he’s the saviour of all people. A king of the Jews who will rule also Gentiles.

It was a very powerful moment, as all of us realised how quickly we dismiss what is strange and unfamiliar.

Posted by steve at 09:12 AM


  1. Yes…we can prefer to dismiss things that are strange and unfamilar but then how do we discern in a multi-faceted way as you wrote in your December 11 blog regarding “something done”?

    Comment by viv — December 16, 2008 @ 4:03 pm

  2. Thanks for this perspective…need to chew on it some more but there are lights going on for me.

    Comment by Kerry — December 17, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

  3. Great illustration/application of Scripture. Mind if I use it in teaching?

    Comment by David Morgan — December 22, 2008 @ 9:49 am

  4. no at all, as long as you acknowledge :). ta for asking


    Comment by steve — December 22, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

  5. […] than one reason for the season. That post actually got attention in a number of places, including EmergentKiwi (with a great connection to the lectionary reading from Daniel and the story of the Magi!), […]

    Pingback by Fernando’s Desk » Link Love Or Loving Linkage — February 18, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.