Sunday, January 27, 2008


0336 This is the earliest known year that Jesus' nativity was celebrated on December 25th, as mentioned in the Philocalian Calendar of A. D. 354. Jesus' birth was commemorated on January 6th in Greek Orthodoxy, although by the 400s most of the Eastern churches had accepted the Roman date.

More light than we can learn, More wealth than we can treasure, More love than we can earn, More peace than we can measure, Because one Child is born.

Gaudete, gaudete, Christus est natus ex Maria virgine, gaudete!

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
They'd been worn all week and needed the air.
'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period
preceding the annual Yuletide celebration, And
throughout our place of residence,
Kinetic activity was not in evidence among the
possessors of this potential, including that
species of domestic rodent known as Mus musculus.
Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward
edge of the wood burning caloric apparatus,
Pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure regarding an
imminent visitation from an eccentric
philanthropist among whose folkloric appellations
is the honorific title of St. Nicklaus ...
What do Jewish people do on Christmas Day?
They stand around the cash register and sing: "What A Friend We Have In Jesus".

Christmas is coming
And the goose is getting fat.
How could the gander
Have done a thing like that!
Santa lives at the North Pole ...JESUS is everywhere.
Santa rides in a sleigh ...JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.
Santa comes but once a year ...JESUS is an ever present help.
Santa fills your stockings with goodies ...JESUS supplies all your needs.
Santa comes down your chimney uninvited ...JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.
You have to wait in line to see Santa ...JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.
Santa lets you sit on his lap ...JESUS lets you rest in His arms.
Santa doesn't know your name;All he can say is, "Hi little boy or girl, what's your name?" ...JESUS knew our name before we did; Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.
Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly ... JESUS has a heart full of love.
All Santa can offer is HO HO HO ... JESUS offers Health, Help and Hope.
Santa says "You better not cry" ... JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."
Santa's little helpers make toys ...JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.
Santa may make you chuckle but ...JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.
While Santa puts gifts under your tree ...JESUS became our gift and died on a tree.
Why Jesus is better than santa.

Selfishness makes Christmas a burden, love makes it a delight.

Forasmuch as the feast of the nativity of Christ, Easter, Whitsuntide, and other festivals, commonly called holy-days, have been heretofore superstitiously used and observed; be it ordained, that the said feasts, and all other festivals, commonly called holy-days, be no longer observed as festivals; any law, statute, custom, constitution, or canon, to the contrary in anywise not withstanding.
In June 1647, Parliament passed legislation abolishing Christmas and other holidays

Whoever shall be found observing any such days as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing labor, feasting, or any other way.... shall pay for every such offense five shillings.-- General Court of Massachusetts Bay May 11, 1659.

A Very Merry Christmas Everyone And for those who don't celebrate Christmas; a Very Merry Humbug! Brian Abshire

Christmas itself may be called into question,
If carried so far it creates indigestion.
Ralph Bergengren (1871- ) _The Unwise Christmas_

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?
And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.
John Betjeman Christmas From A Few Late Chrysanthemums (1954)

He has come! the Christ of God;
Left for us His glad abode,
Stooping from His throne of bliss,
To this darksome wilderness.

He has come! the Prince of Peace;
Come to bid our sorrows cease;
Come to scatter with His light
All the darkness of our night.

He, the Mighty King, has come!
Making this poor world His home;
Come to bear our sin's sad load,--
Son of David, Son of God!

He has come whose name of grace
Speaks deliverance to our race;
Left for us His glad abode,--
Son of Mary, Son of God!

Unto us a Child is born!
Ne'er has earth beheld a morn,
Among all the morns of time,
Half so glorious in its prime!

God appears, and God is Light,
To those poor souls who dwell in Night;
But does a Human Form display
To those who dwell in realms of Day.
William Blake (1757-1827)

We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God's coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God's coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Unto us a Son is given!
He has come from God's own heaven,
Bringing with Him, from above,
Holy peace and holy love.
Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)
And herewith I shall end this year [1621]. Only I shall remember one passage more, rather of mirth then of waight. One ye day called Christmas-day, ye Govr [William Bradford] caled them out to worke, (as was used,) but ye most of this new-company excused them selves and said it wente against their consciences to work on yt day. So ye Govr tould them that if they made it mater of conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed. So he led-away ye rest and left them; but when they came home at noone from their worke, he found them in ye streete at play, openly; somepitching ye barr, & some at stoole-ball, and shuch like sports. So he went to them, and tooke away their implements, and tould them that was against his conscience, that they should play & others worke. If they made ye keeping of it mater of devotion, let them kepe their houses, but ther should be no gameing or revelling in ye streets. Since which time nothing hath been atempted that way, at least openly.-- William Bradford, History of Plymouth Colony

Christmas is the Disneyfication of Christianity." - Don Cupitt,

t is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself. Charles Dickens

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe,the Son of Mary.
William C. Dix, The Manger Throne (evolving into "What Child Is This?"; 1865)

Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we'll be seeing six or seven. ~W.C. Fields 1880-1946

How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Thank God for the "commercialisation" of Christmas. If it weren't for that, our society would have no Christmas at all. Paul Hein

It was great condescension that He who was God should be made in the likeness of flesh; but much greater that He who was holy should be made in the likeness of sinful flesh. MATHEW HENRY

Rejoice, that the immortal God is born, so that mortal man may live in eternity. Jan Huss

The Church does not superstitiously observe days, merely as days, but as memorials of important facts. Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another; but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birth of our Saviour, because there is danger that what may be done on any day, will be neglected. --Samuel Johnson (Boswell: Life of Johnson)

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There'd have been no room for the child.
~Madeleine L'Engle, in The Weather of the Heart. (1978)

Invisible in His own nature [God] became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, He chose to come within our grasp. -- Leo the Great

What in heaven's name is the idea of everyone sending everyone else pictures of stage-coaches, fairies, foxes, dogs, butterflies, kittens, flowers, etc.?... Imagine a Chinese man sitting at a table covered with small pictures. The man explains that he is preparing for the anniversary of Buddha's being protected by the dragons. Not that he personally believes that this is the real anniversary of the event or even that it really happened. He is just keeping up the old custom. Not that he has any pictures of Buddha or of the dragons. He doesn't like that kind. He says, "Here's one of a traction engine for Hu Flung Dung, and I'm sending this study of a napkin-ring to Lo Hung Git, and these jolly ones of bluebottles are for the children. ~C.S. Lewis, letter to his brother Warren (Christmas Eve 1939) -on the futility of celebrating the Nativity if one does not accept the Incarnation.

Among the oxen (like an ox I'm slow)
I see a glory in the stable grow
Which, with the ox's dullness might at length
Give me an ox's strength.
Among the asses (stubborn I as they)
I see my Saviour where I looked for hay;
So may my beast like folly learn at least
The patience of a beast.

Among the sheep (I like a sheep have strayed)
I watch the manger where my Lord is laid;
Oh that my baa-ing nature would win thence
Some woolly innocence!
CS Lewis The Nativity

Ah, we poor people, to be so cold and sluggish in the face of the great joy that has clearly been prepared for us! This great benefaction exceeds by far all the other works of creation; and yet our faith in it is found to be so weak, although it is preached and sung to us by angels, who are heavenly theologians and who were so glad for our sake! Their song is very, very beautiful and describes the entire Christian religion. For giving glory to God in the highest heaven is the supreme worship. This they wish and bring to us in the Christ ..
Martin Luther quoted in E. M. Plass, WHAT LUTHER SAYS, p.154

That the Creator himself comes to us and becomes our ransom - this is the reason for our rejoicing.-- Martin Luther 25 March 1533 "Table Talks"

The Unnoticed Guest
( By an Act of Parliament in 1652 Christmas was abolished)
A plague on they Christmas!
The Puritans cried;
Thou glutton! Thou drunkard!
Thy flesh-pots we've spied!
'Tis pagan, 'tis popish.
'T will lead to damnation:
God cancels thy Christmas-
By State proclamation!

A Christ without Christmas?
He calls us to dine!
He feeds the five thousand.
Turns water to wine,
Sits down at the tablesOf common-place sinners:
The unnoticed Guest
At all Christmas dinners.

So eat and be merry!
Rejoice in his birth!
Let feasting not fasting,
Replenish the earth!
But share with the hungry,
Keep Jesus in sight:
For a Christmas that's Christ-less
Proves the Puritans right.
Arnold Kellett, Kellett's Christmas,1997.

This the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heaven's Eternal King,
Of wedded maid and virgin mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

That glorious form, that light insufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity
He laid aside, and, here with us to be.
Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.
John Milton ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY (Composed - 1629)

What he was, he laid aside; what he was not, he assumed. He takes upon himself the poverty of my flesh so that I may receive the riches of his divinity. Gregory Nazianzen

Where is this stupendous stranger ?
Prophets, shepherds, kings, advise ;
Lead me to my Master's manger,
Show me where my Saviour lies.
O most mighty, O most holy,
Far beyond the seraph's thought,
Art thou then so mean and lowly
As unheeded prophets taught ?

O the magnitude of meekness,
Worth from worth immortal sprang,
O the strength of infant weakness,
If eternal is so young.

Good all-bounteous, all creative,
Whom no ills from good dissuade,
Is incarnate, and a native
Of the very world he made.
Christopher Smart (1722-71) The Nativity of our Lord

This little Babe, so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake,
Though he himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmed wise
The gates of hell he will surprise.
Robert Southwell (1561-1595) New Heaven, New War

Come worship the King,
That little dear thing,
Asleep on His Mother's soft breast.
Ye bright stars, bow down,
Weave for Him a crown,
Christ Jesus by angels confessed.

Come, children, and peep,
But hush ye, and creep
On tiptoe to where the Babe lies;
Then whisper His Name
And lo! like a flame
The glory light shines in His eyes.

Come strong men, and see
This high mystery,
Tread firm where the shepherds have trod,
And watch, mid the hair
Of the Maiden so fair,
The five little fingers of God.

Come, old men and grey,
The star leads the way,
It halts and your wanderings cease;
Look down on His Face
Then, filled with His Grace,
Depart ye, God's servants, in Peace.
G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929) Christmas Eve

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light,
And usher in the morning;
O shepherds, shrink not with afright,
But hear the angel's warning.
This Child, now weak in infancy,
Our confidence and joy shall be,
The power of Satan breaking,
Our peace eternal making.
Johann Rist, 1641; translated John Troutbeck, circa 1885.

Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. - Augusta E. Rundel

Christmas is not for sophomores who live under the illusion that they read all of Darwin, or for the intelligentsia. . . or for the self-wise who think Marx is wiser than Mark. It is only for the very learned, the great scientists, the profound theologians who are heirs of the wise men who discovered Wisdom.
At the other end of the spectrum are the simple who know nature better than books, who have insights deeper than the impure and a vision which sees in the night. These are the heirs of the shepherds who find their way to the Shepherd of their souls. --Fulton John Sheen (1895-1979) _Christmas Inspirations_ [1984], Chapter 34

The hinge of history is on the door of a Bethlehem stable. - Ralph W.Sockman

After today, I'll bet Santa takes a shovel to the reindeer stalls to fill your stocking.
Hobbes, "Calvin and Hobbes" by Bill Watterson

The King of glory sends his Son,
To make his entrance on this earth;
Behold the midnight bright as noon,
And heav'nly hosts declare his birth!
About the young Redeemer's head,
What wonders, and what glories meet!
An unknown star arose, and led
The eastern sages to his feet.

Simeon and Anna both conspire
The infant Saviour to proclaim;
Inward they felt the sacred fire,
And bless'd the babe, and own'd his name.

Let pagan hordes blaspheme aloud,
And treat the holy child with scorn;
Our souls adore th' eternal God
Who condescended to be born.
Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Take Christ out of Christmas, and December becomes the bleakest and most colorless month of the year.--A. F. Wells

To perceive Christmas through it`s wrapping becomes more difficult every year. -- E. B. White (The second tree from the corner)

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