It’s a common refrain this time of year: “Merry Christmas!” But what many of us don’t realize is that the season of Christmas hasn’t yet begun. In actuality, we are in the season of Advent, which means “coming” and begins four Sundays before Christmas.
What is Advent, and how do we celebrate it?
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Our Christmas traditions do not need to come from someplace of profound spiritual meaning in order to be meaningful to you and your family. Rather, it’s the sense of joy, unity, and remembrance they inspire that is most important. They have purpose to the extent that they bring us closer to those we love most. However, if we’re not careful it can be easy for the tradition to become more important than the people who keep it.
In recent years, Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research have documented the theological decline among evangelical Christians. According to the most recent edition of the survey, a stunning 43 percent of today’s evangelical Christians believe that “Jesus was a great teacher, but not God.” Like in 18th-century England, Arianism is alive and well today in our a-theological approach to faith. Neither cultural darkness nor theological apathy is new. Often at the darkest times, God chooses to renew His people and light the world.
Sight & Sound Theatres had been producing Broadway-style Bible stage musicals for over four decades, but now, the theater company is adding film to its repertoire. The company's new film, I Heard the Bells, tells the real-life story of American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who wrote the famous carol I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.
If we had to earn God’s love, we could lose his love. If the Christmas gift of our Father was given on the basis of merit, none of us could receive it or hope to retain it. But because God “is” love, there is absolutely nothing we can do to make him love us any more or any less than he already does. So, as we step into the Christmas season, let’s make time every day to remember the why of Christmas. Let’s reflect on the unchanging, unconditional love of our Father for us. Let’s respond with the grateful worship of our souls. And let’s pay forward this gift by sharing it with everyone we can.