Christmas – A Perspective on Philosophy and Religion
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. – Luke 2:7
And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.
– G.K. Chesterton, in A Year with G.K. Chesterton, Kevin Belmonte, Editor
I have elected to depart from the subject matter, tone and tenor of my other posts, given the season; and attempt to reflect on Christmas and hopefully demonstrate I’m not entirely one-dimensional. Christmas, the birthday of Jesus the Christ, the day God came to earth as a baby, to serve as an example and a reminder of what we should be and could have been before the fall.
In childhood, Christmas was a season of anticipation. As a child, our main focus was the anticipation of receiving gifts from Santa Claus. As Christian adults, the four Sundays before Christmas, Advent, is likewise filled with anticipation. However, instead of toys, we await the opportunity to celebrate the birth of a savior.
During the next few days leading up to Christmas, I invite you to reflect on what God, come to earth as a man, means and has meant in your life.
I feel totally inadequate attempting to speak meaningfully on the topic. Because of this inadequacy, I have elected to post the thoughts and comments of others. As you read them and reflect on them, I hope you gain a renewed appreciation for the meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it.
“Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years… Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart.” — George Matthew Adams (The Christmas Heart)
“Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display-so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn’t the holly, it isn’t the snow. It isn’t the tree not the firelight’s glow. It’s the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again.” — Anonymous
“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” — Oren Arnold
“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” — Calvin Coolidge
“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” — Bing Crosby
“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. … We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.” — Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
“”Somehow he [Tim] gets thoughtful sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant for them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”” — Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
“Late on a sleepy, star-spangled night, those angels peeled back the sky just like you would tear open a sparkling Christmas present. Then, with light and joy pouring out of Heaven like water through a broken dam, they began to shout and sing the message that baby Jesus had been born. The world had a Savior! The angels called it “Good News,” and it was.” — Larry Libby (“The Angels Called it Good News” in Christmas Stories for the Heart)
“Off to one side sits a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him “– and so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds.” — Max Lucado
“This is the month, and this the happy morn, wherein the Son of heaven’s eternal King, of wedded Maid and Virgin Mother born, our great redemption from above did bring.” — John Milton
Love came down at Christmas; Love all lovely, love divine; Love was born at Christmas, Stars and angels gave the sign.” — Christina Rossetti
“Let us keep Christmas beautiful without a thought of greed, That it might live forevermore To fill our every need, That it shall not be just a day, But last a lifetime through, The miracle of Christmastime That brings God close to you.” — Garnett Ann Schultz
“This Advent we look to the Wise Men to teach us where to focus our attention. We set our sights on things above, where God is. We draw closer to Jesus… When our Advent journey ends, and we reach the place where Jesus resides in Bethlehem, may we, like the Wise Men, fall on our knees and adore him as our true and only King.” — Mark Zimmermann
The place that the shepherds found was not an academy or an abstract republic; it was not a place of myths….explained or explained away. It was a place of dreams come true. – G.K. Chesterton
Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:10-11