Advertisement

Archive for Saturday, December 15, 2007

Faith forum: What is your favorite detail of the Christmas story?

December 15, 2007

Advertisement

Steadfast faith and love born in a stable

Judy Bauer, member, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.:

When I was very young, I rode horses at Mr. Mott's stable near Blue Mound south of Lawrence. A little later, when my family owned horses, I spent a good deal of time in another stable by Lakeview Club. These stables sheltered horses, cows, chickens and many other animals, and there I witnessed birth, life and death.

My chores in the stable marked the time of day and connected me to natural rhythms required to care for living things. The earthy fragrance of alfalfa hay, oiled leather, sweat-soaked saddle blankets, manure and dust permeated the space and my clothes.

So it should come as no surprise that, for me, Christ's birth in a stable symbolizes simplicity and shelter. It reconnects me to the rhythms I knew as a child and to who I am now. Every year the Christmas nativity reminds me that Christ offers love, an emotional home and a spiritual watering hole which I can visit anywhere, anytime. I need a spiritual refill regularly because when I switch on the news, I often see a conflicted world, sweat-soaked, dusty, full of anxieties, offenses, issues. And then there is my own humanness, the times when I am greedy, thoughtless, careless.

When used as an adjective, the word stable means steadfast and I think that word describes Christ. He offers a template through which I may interpret events and difficulties. He is available night and day, year round. My ideas about Christmas and Christ grow and change all the time. They are private and dynamic. Yet always, the comfort of the stable remains.

God's gift, humility in which it was given

Dwayne Dunn, member, Lawrence Heights Christian Church, 2321 Peterson Road:

The plain language of Luke 2:7 states "And she (Mary) gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped him in cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

The extraordinary thing about this rather basic statement is that it refers to the most important event in history, where God sent his only son to live with men on earth, die as a sacrifice for their sins, and rise to reclaim his place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That God would choose Mary and Joseph and a lowly stable of animals for this amazing happening is both shocking and humbling.

As a musician, I have had the great joy of singing, playing and hearing the wonderful songs of Christmas my whole life. I enjoy the great hymns, ancient carols, simple folk-songs and intricate choral compositions that men have written, all serving as but a pale imitation of the praise declared by a multitude of the heavenly host: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of goodwill."

One of the texts I enjoy the most is the Latin "O Magnum Mysterium," which speaks of the great mystery that animals (not people) were there to witness the birth of Christ. The King of Glory was born in a barn for an audience of animals!

If God can lower himself to such a humble state for his arrival on earth, can there ever be a time when we should need to seek the passing attention and glory of other men? For "whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." (Matthew 23:12)

Comments

kneejerkreaction 6 years, 4 months ago

When the kid shoots himself in the eye with the BB gun.

0

Ray Parker 6 years, 4 months ago

"Bless all the dear children In Thy tender care And take us to heaven To live with Thee there" . . . Last verse, "Away in a Manger", author unknown, music by William J. Kirkpatrick, 1895 . . . Babies demonstrate a regular heartbeat 18 days after conception, kick, leap, and walk at 12 weeks gestation, open their eyes at 18 weeks, and smile and cry by 26 weeks, clearly exhibiting human behavior thoughout a pregnancy. They are nonetheless mercilessly mangled, dismembered, poisoned, and beheaded in Kansas abortion mills, for convenience and for profit, because our leftist, activist, baby-hating U.S. Supreme "Court" has declared them "not persons", and because of the vile, corrupting influence of the abortion industry on Kansas government and criminal justice system, now finally coming clearly to light. (Psalms 94:9)

0

Marion Lynn 6 years, 4 months ago

STRS:

But is that realtionship adulterous?

Is the "creator" a guy or a gal?

If the "creator" is a guy, would I be then in a homosexual relationship?

If the "creator" is a girl, could I marry her and become a "pro-creator"?

"Liberating" from what?

The self-imposed guilt which is a basci requirement of Christianity?

Now THERE is a scam for you!

Make you feel guilty instead of recognising mistakes anda going on, so that the religion can provide you with "forgiveness" for something that you don't need "forgiveness" for in the first place!

WOO HOO!

Nice setup.

I'll be that a lot of money could be made.............

oh wait...........................................

0

SettingTheRecordStraight 6 years, 4 months ago

Actually, Marion, Christianity is incredibly liberating. After all, Christ's message is and is that sinful, imperfect man may have an eternal relationship with the holy creator of the universe.

0

Marion Lynn 6 years, 4 months ago

I have to agree with Judy Bauer about the "stable" scene being the best.

"The best" as in the "best MYTH"!

Of course, no such "stables" existed at the time as most houses were either two story, with the animals living on the first floor or simply spread out with the critters sharing living space with the people.

The who "manger scene" thing is essenitally a Renaissance invention, which made for pretty paintings.

Just one more of the myths of Christianity.

The incoporation of the wreath, the Yule log and the "Christmas Tree"; all old pagan traditions into the matrix of the Tripartite Religion so that it might become more palatable to converts has always held a special place in my heart.

Then of course there is the matter of the date of celegration of the birth of the Christ child.

The best available evidence points to the event having taken place in May, June or perhaps August.

http://www.ucgstp.org/lit/gn/gn008/gn008f03.htm

From the citation:

"n Rome December 25 was made popular by Pope Liberius in 354 and became the rule in the West in 435 when the first "Christ mass" was officiated by Pope Sixtus III. This coincided with the date of a celebration by the Romans to their primary god, the Sun, and to Mithras, a popular Persian sun god supposedly born on the same day. The Roman Catholic writer Mario Righetti candidly admits that, "to facilitate the acceptance of the faith by the pagan masses, the Church of Rome found it convenient to institute the 25th of December as the feast of the birth of Christ to divert them from the pagan feast, celebrated on the same day in honor of the 'Invincible Sun' Mithras, the conqueror of darkness" (Manual of Liturgical History, 1955, Vol. 2, p. 67)."

Christianity is a fraud as are all religions; based on maintainence of power by elite classes; the clergy and the wealthy.

0

purplesage 6 years, 4 months ago

Don't know where you get your history, marcdev. The evidence is good for the completion of the New Testament by the end of the first century. Athanasius of Alexandria circulated a list that included the 27 NT books accepted today, explicable by the fact tht Christianity was an illegal religion until the days of Constantine.

I think I like the willing obedience of Mary and Joseph to the will of God foreir lives which would bring with it both great privilege and a significant cost.

0

storm 6 years, 4 months ago

My favorite part of the Christmas Story is when Ralphie's little brother Randy put his snow suit on, and then cried out, " I can't put my arms down!" cause he was so bundled up. Of course, the kid with his tongue on the pole was funny too.

0

marcdeveraux 6 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

75x55 6 years, 4 months ago

easy, marc, easy. The town was filled to the hilt because of the influx of people to be counted for the census. The story doesn't have any negative connotation - that just all there was. Don't have a clue where you get the idea for your last sentence though.

On a personal level, I like the first announcement, in the company of angels and glory of God, to the shepherds in the field, the lowliest of the lowly in that society. And that they leave immediately to see the newborn child that all Israel had been looking forward to for so long.

0

marcdeveraux 6 years, 4 months ago

christians need to stop thinking of jews as mean people.i am not a jew, anyone who has ever been around the jewish people would certainly know this. any woman needing a place to give birth would be made welcome in anyones home. children are so central to the jews that anyone would gladly give up their bed to a mother in need, these fables are written by white men too glorify the christian religion and put the jewish peoples in a bad light.as in" the jews killed jesus".This nonsense was to make christianity look good.nothing more.meet some jewish people and you will agree. these new testament stories were written in england hundreds of years after the fact.

0

i_tching 6 years, 4 months ago

The best part? Knowing that's it's all nonsense.

0

spywell 6 years, 4 months ago

Saturn was in retrograde. This cause the three wise men to take notice of the star. This sent them on a journey, zig zaging across the southern part of europe into the middle eastern deserts where they saw the star stop and reverse its path. There, the location was Bethlehem, as they charted its passing.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.