Holidays

Light in the Darkness: A Series for Advent Part One – Darkness

Darkness, to our sight, corresponds to silence, in our hearing. It is the absence of any stimulus to inform, direct or encourage us.

But darkness also entails a moral component. Darkness, by its very nature, spreads a covering over sin (see John 3:19-21; 8:12; 12:35, 46; Eph. 5:11-14).

Furthermore, darkness is symbolic of Satan and evil, as Jesus stated during his arrest in Luke 22:53: “This is your hour, and the power of darkness.”1 The Apostle Paul also referenced this theme regarding the depravity of the human heart in Ephesians 5:8, stating: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” Other passages that use the same imagery include Isaiah 5:20, Matthew 27:45 and Acts 26:18.

Beyond that, darkness may picture hell itself—even the eternal lake of fire (see Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

The word darkness appears 99 times in the Old Testament and 42 times in the New Testament. Darkness represents ignorance and frustration—even despair (see Isa. 42:6-7; 58:10: 59:9). Darkness is ominous and threatening—indicating impending danger (see Isaiah 8:22; 45:7; 60:2).

The declining daylight at this time of year reminds us in a tangible way of the darkness that God’s people felt as they waited for their Messiah to arrive. This was sensed most keenly during the 400 silent years that followed the last utterance of true, Biblical, prophetic revelation that was given before Christ.

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Why Thanksgiving Is a Cultural “Ebenezer” to Be Grateful For

"Robinson is not suggesting in his hymn that we all go out and build monuments to God. Rather, as he observes in the next stanza, our hearts are prone to wander and we need touchstones in our lives to remind us what God has done for us individually and, by extension, all God’s people 'thus far.'" - TIFWE

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C.S. Lewis loved the Incarnation. Not so much the Christmas holiday

"It wasn’t just the commercialization of Christmas that Lewis disdained. It was the trivialization of the historical event of Christ’s birth. Lewis thought the commercial racket should be detached from the remembrance of what the angels celebrated nearly 2,000 years ago." - Christianity Today

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Putting the X Back in Xmas

Reposted from The Cripplegate.

I’m all for putting Christ back in Christmas. And there is no doubt that our secularized culture is working hard at surreptitiously ushering the Baby out, without losing the murky bathwater of gift-giving and commercial celebration. But I’d like to address the misinformed concern that the use of “Xmas” as a placeholder for “Christmas” is part of the conspiracy to excise Christ from his holiday.

First, Christmas is not a biblical holiday. There are no New Covenant feast days; besides communion, there is no recurring remembrance that is mandated. The Catholics came up with the Christ Mass feast, and global retailers and consumers alike hopped on the bandwagon. So, if Jesus becomes as absent to the secular mindset from Christmastime as he is from Halloween, there is no loss to the New Covenant.

Second, and this is my main point, using “X” to replace “Christ” is not necessarily an indication of anything sinister. I have used Xmas and Christmas interchangeably with a clear conscience ever since learning about the history of its usage.

Some Christians shun the use of “Xmas.”

In an interview Franklin Graham opined on behalf of evangelicalism:

For us as Christians, this is one of the most holy of the holidays, the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. And for people to take Christ out of Christmas. They’re happy to say merry Xmas. Let’s just take Jesus out. And really, I think, a war against the name of Jesus Christ.”

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Technology, tradition and the invention of Christmas in 19th-century New York

Given this lead, New York City seminary professor Clement Clarke Moore cemented the connection. On Dec. 23, 1823, the Troy Sentinel published Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Beginning with the now-famous words, “’Twas the night before Christmas…” - RNS

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