Title: Meaning of Christmas
In New York's Hayden Planetarium a special Christmas holiday show was enhanced by an added feature. A giant lollipop tree was projected onto the planetarium dome, surrounded by a horizon filled with brilliantly colored toys which came to life and cavorted to the tune of "Jingle Bells." At the climax a huge figure of Santa Claus faded out in a snow storm, and the star of Bethlehem broke through into a sky that produced exactly the Palestine sky on the night of the nativity. The designer of this show may not realize that he dramatically staged the supreme Christmas message our world needs to understand: The recovery of the lost meaning of Christmas. This is not said in any criticism of Santa Claus; the effect must have delighted the hearts of all the children who saw it, without doing violence to their love of Bethlehem. But for adults it is a tragic loss to substitute "Jingle Bells" for "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing," and a lollipop tree for the manger of Bethlehem.
Without the birth of Christ, can it really be Christmas? How far can we go and how must can we accept?
E. Luccock in James W. Cox, The Minister's Manual: 1994, San Fransico:
Harper Collins, 1993, p. 218.
Title: Meaning of Christmas, Materialism
A television interviewer was walking streets of Tokyo at Christmas time. Much as in America, Christmas shopping is a big commercial success in Japan. The interviewer stopped one young woman on the sidewalk, and asked, "What is the meaning of Christmas?"
Laughing, she responded, "I don't know. Is that the day that Jesus died?"
In a sense there is a profound truth to her answer. The commercialism of Christmas begins the death of Christ at Christmas
Deffner, Seasonal Illustrations, San Jose: Resource, 1992, p. 16.
Title: Heavenly Peace
A little boy and girl were singing their favorite Christmas carol in church the Sunday before Christmas. The boy concluded "Silent Night" with the words, "Sleep in heavenly beans." "No," his sister corrected, "not beans, peas."
P. Green, Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, Grand Rapids: Baker,
1993, p. 57.
The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.
Luther, Table Talk.
To avoid offending anybody, the school dropped religion altogether and started singing about the weather. At my son's school, they now hold the winter program in February and sing increasingly non-memorable songs such as "Winter Wonderland," "Frosty the Snowman" and--this is a real song--"Suzy Snowflake," all of which is pretty funny because we live in Miami. A visitor from another planet would assume that the children belonged to the Church of Meteorology.
Barry in his "Notes on Western Civilization",
Chicago Tribune Magazine,
July 28, 1991.
Title: The perception of Christmas
To perceive Christmas through its wrappings becomes more difficult with every year.
B. White, The Second Tree from the Corner.
Title: Our greatest need at Christmas
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer; But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.
Title: Home for Christmas
In December 1903, after many attempts, the Wright brothers were successful in getting their "flying machine" off the ground. Thrilled, they telegraphed this message to their sister Katherine: "We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas." Katherine hurried to the editor of the local newspaper and showed him the message. He glanced at it and said, "How nice. The boys will be home for Christmas." He totally missed the big news--man had flown!
Bread, December 23, 1991.