Man’s maker was made man

Man’s maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars,
might nurse at His mother’s breast;

that the Bread might hunger,

the Fountain thirst,

the Light sleep,

the Way be tired on its journey;

that the Truth might be accused of false witness,

the Teacher be beaten with whips,

the Foundation be suspended on wood;

that Strength might grow weak;

that the Healer might be wounded;

that Life might die.

– Augustine of Hippo (Sermons 191.1)

 

Getting socks instead of a shotgun

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Holidays are frequently times when people get trapped by the expectations game. Because everyone around you assumes that the day is going to be “really good,” “special,” or “fantastic,” and is constantly telling you to have a “merry” one, it is easy to assume that having a merry Christmas is an actual possession of yours, and if not a possession, at least a birthright. Consequently, the tendency is to sketch out in your mind what you would like that possession to be like. But it turns out, metaphorically speaking, that you get socks instead of the shotgun, or cookware instead of pearls, and the expectation lost is a set-up for real disappointment. This is one of the reasons why holidays can be such an emotional roller coaster ride for so many, and Christmas is no exception.  (Wilson, God Rest Ye Merry, 100)

Celebrate the stuff

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Celebrate the stuff.  Use fudge and eggnog and wine and roast beef.  Use presents and wrapping paper.  Embedded in many of the common complaints you hear about the holidays (consumerism, shopping, gluttony, etc.) are false assumptions about the point of the celebration. You do not prepare for a real celebration of the Incarnation through thirty days of Advent Gnosticism.  (Wilson, God Rest Ye Merry, 89-90)

Not a glass of water and a cracker

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As the prophet Isaiah prophesies the coming of the new covenant, he does so with the image of a glorious feast. The feast is prepared by the Lord of hosts Himself (25:6). What kind of feast is it?  He prepares a feast of fat things, he prepares a feast of aged wines, of meat full of marrow fat, and then some more aged wines.  This is the picture we are given of the gospel – not a glass of room temperature water and a cracker. (Wilson, God Rest Ye Merry, 88)

The sort of thing carnal kings worry about

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And so your celebrations are all to be conducted in the name of Jesus, of course. He is the reason for the season. But more than this. He Is the Lord of the season. He is the Lord of the season because He is the Lord of the earth. He did not come down here, He was not born on this earth, in order to work out a power sharing arrangement with Caesar. So let your Christmas celebrations be joyful all the way down to the ground. But in order for it to be the right kind of joy, those celebrations should be one of the most political things that you do.  It should be the sort of thing that carnal kings worry about. (Wilson, God Rest Ye Merry, 66-7)

He was willing to have his diapers changed

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He, the eternal Word, the one who spoke the galaxies into existence, was willing to become a little baby boy who could do nothing with words except jabber, and in that jabbering, make glad his mother and earthly father. He, the source of all life and all nourishment for that life, was willing to be breastfed. He, the same one who had separated the night from the day, and had shaped the sun to rule the day, and the moon to rule the night, was willing to have his diapers changed for a year or so. It is not disrespectful to speak this way; for Christians, it is disrespectful not to. We believe in the Incarnation, in the Word made flesh. This is our glory; this is our salvation. (Wilson, God Rest Ye Merry, 48)

Attempts to neutralize Christmas

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As we continue to meditate on the meaning of Advent, we are not as much resisting attempts to make Christmas meaningless as we are fighting with alternative meanings.  There is no such thing (in the last analysis) as a vacuum holiday, a celebration without a point.  Attempts to neutralize Christmas are simply an intermediate step – and the alternative meanings are waiting in the wings. (Wilson, God Rest Ye Merry, 31)