I’m happy to announce that Day One have just published my third book — The Coming of the Saviour-King — which is basically a collection of the daily pieces I did for Advent last year. If you’re interested, you can get a copy here. Below is an excerpt from the introduction to the book.

That Christmas has become commercialized, trivialized, tacky and secularized is probably a statement of the obvious. There is Santa. There is snow. There are reindeer. There are copious amounts of food. There is alcohol. There are the TV specials. There is the tinsel. There are the toys. Many things associated with the day are fine things. I have nothing against reindeer, and Christmas ought to be a feast day, a day of celebration.

But the problem is that these things now take centre stage. Just as there was no room for him at the inn and so he was shoved to one side to be born, so Christ has been shoved out of his central role in Christmas. Not only is this what Christmas now is for millions, but it is also deeply unfulfilling. How many times have you heard people say that Christmas was boring, or a bit of a let-down, disappointing or something similar?

Nor is this confined to non-Christians. As I see it, many Christians seem to pay lip service to Jesus at Christmas time, but again he is not really front and centre of the whole festival. Why is this?

Perhaps the main reason for it is that we have lost the sense of who Jesus really is. We start the story of Christmas with a baby in a manger, and so we fail to see who he really is and why he came into the world. If we grasp this, starting at the beginning of God’s narrative and working our way through, then, like the shepherds, we will be full of awe, and we will then inevitably celebrate ‘Christ’-mas, rather than just Xmas. And as we do so, all the other good things associated with the season and the day will fall into their rightful place, and it will be far more fulfilling.

A few years ago, my wife and I decided that if we are to celebrate Christmas, we ought to do so wholeheartedly, putting Christ at the centre and striving to make it a season of great joy. One of the ways we went about doing this was by making Advent stockings—twenty-plus small stockings hung on the wall with chocolates inside for the children to open every day (OK, so we put chocolates in for ourselves as well). But also within these stockings I included a Bible passage, with some connection to or prophecy about the coming of Christ, which I would then do my best to explain to the children around the meal table, asking them questions in order to generate discussion. And so Advent became for us not only a feast of fat things (chocolate), but, more than that, a Christ-centred feast of fat things.

As these readings became a habit over the years, I decided that I would write them down on my blog. Once this was completed, on 25 December 2016, it occurred to me that I had all the material for a book, and that I should have a go at getting it published in the hope that it might inspire others to really strive to make the season full of Christ. This is the book you have in your hands.

So let’s make the Christmas season Christ-centred once again. Let’s ditch the tackiness, the over-the-top commercialization, the triviality and the secularization, and let’s have a proper feast—one with plenty of food and drink and good things, but with Jesus Christ at the centre, filling us with great gladness and much rejoicing.

6 thoughts on “The Christmas Spirit

  1. I wish you well with the publication of your new book, Rob, and I hope many people buy it and get the benefit from it.

    I think it is good to celebrate Christmas. It has been commercialised in western countries but that need not stop true believers celebrating it in a worthy way. Ideally we celebrate the meaning of Christmas every day of the year but I think it is good to set aside a special season in the year to focus on it more intensely. This seems to be God’s pattern for us, since he commanded the Israelites to hold annual festivals commemorating Passover, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, etc. And I don’t think it’s wrong for Christians to highjack pagan rituals, purge them of their evil connotations, and rebrand them with new significance. 25th December may not be the actual day in the year on which the Lord Jesus was born but I think that is a trivial quibble. Millions of Christians around the world celebrate the birth of our Saviour on that day and I think it is important for us all to celebrate this event at the same time (allowing for differences in time zones!) so that we express our unity as a body. I think western Christians often put too much emphasis on our individual identities and forget the corporate nature of God’s people. A peasant farmer in Mexico, a housewife in South Africa, a brick kiln worker in Pakistan, a business executive in Tunbridge Wells, and a fisherman in the Philippines are one in Christ.

  2. Oh, how my heart smiles, Rob, at your blog. Thank you for sharing.

    When God’s Angel Delamer Duverus came into our life in March of 2001 and became a constant, conscious companion, the first thing He did was to take the TV and throw it out. We had done it several times before, (well, almost, we put it in a closet), but it always came back. It went for good under His guidance.

    The second thing He did was to tell us we weren’t going to be celebrating Christmas or Easter any longer. He only considered them Commerce Days. We had already toned down Christmas, refusing to put up a Tree, but that was because we knew Trees were our opposition on this planet and we shouldn’t be cutting them down. When we saw pictures of the Original Forests and the hugeness of the Trees in America and how we slaughtered them for profit, we were so, so sad.

    The first year Delamer Duverus did send out a Christmas Card, but it was the last one.

    It read: “It will be Christmas when all the Nations of the World put down their weapons of war and take care of their Children, feeding them, clothing them, sheltering them, and most of all loving them, ‘For such is the Kingdom of God.’”

    Then He took us to the writings of Joseph Wheless and his research on the Bible and how many of the Christian holidays were pagan in nature. http://www.metaphysicspirit.com/books/Is%20It%20Gods%20Word.pdf

    Then, He took us to a Good Will Thrift Store to buy stuff to make a wreath. We wondered why since we weren’t celebrating Christmas, since it was Pagan, but we did as Our Father in Heaven asked. We trusted. We did find a vine coiled into a wreath and went off to look for some tinsel or something, but He instead took us to the floral department and found a length of fake leaves and then some coral-colored roses, several springs. When it was all put together, we thought, wow! This looks like Spring! In His way, smiling through our smile widely, He said, “JeSus was born in the Spring.”

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