I hope you are enjoying the Christmas season. I love Christmas. I love all of it—songs, decorations, programs and services, movies and TV shows, food and anything else Christmasy.
For this week’s DHD, I decided to focus on six website articles that offer an element of the season. The articles cover aspects that may be misunderstood about the Christmas story, along with other unfamiliar details of Christmas history. There will be a favorite Christmas show reference, addressing sappy Hallmark Christmas movies and offering ways to serve during Christmastime.
Hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading!
- About the ‘Inn’ in the Christmas story
Presbyterian minister Joseph LeFebvre wrote a fascinating analytical piece titled “Jesus was probably born in a relative’s house, not an inn.” Articles like LeFebvre’s are right in my wheelhouse. I love reading about cultural aspects and different terminologies that the American/Western culture and English language may not get exactly right.
The focal passage for LeFebvre is Luke 2:7, specifically the phrase “because there was no place for them in the inn.” Check out what LeFebvre wrote about the inn mentioned in that verse and why it is commonly misunderstood. LeFebvre also helps readers get a better grasp of what the Jewish housing arrangements were like in biblical times.
It’s definitely worth reading.
- About the ‘three kings’
I’ve mentioned this article a few years ago, but I thought it was a good reminder for the Christmas season.
People get hung up about the Wise Men who are mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew’s narrative of the Christmas story. Should they appear in modern day Nativity scenes? What is actually known about the mystery men from the east that are mentioned in Matthew 2?
Check out Greg Lanier’s article “We Three Kings of Orient aren’t”. This is one of the best pieces about the Wise Men. It gives a lot of historical suppositions and a greater understanding of how these men may have come to learn about the Star of Bethlehem. I definitely can go along with the theory that these men were from Babylonia or Persia, where Israelites were exiled, leading to how God’s chosen people may have influenced this secular culture.
- About Santa Claus
Carissa Jones’ latest blog “Naughty and Nicaea” not only has a clever title; it gives great insight to the historical figure of Santa Claus, otherwise known as St. Nicholas.
Carissa helped me learn how St. Nick was involved in church history, specifically the Council of Nicaea. I’ve never heard this story that Carissa shares.
- About Linus’ blanket
I think I’ve shared this article in a previous DHD, but I can’t find the direct reference. It’s a popular article about my favorite Christmas show, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Written in 2015 by Jason Soroski, “Just drop the blanket” gives an enlightening perspective about the best part of the show, when Linus recites the Christmas Story from Luke 2.
If you haven’t read it before, you should. It has a great analogy about Linus and what happens with his blanket as he’s sharing the Gospel.
- About serving at Christmas
Maybe you would like to add a way to serve others at Christmastime. Dwayne McCrary gives a good list of suggestions that you could do with your small group or by yourself. Check out his article, “4 ideas for celebrating Christmas through serving.”
I especially like No. 4 on the list.
- About sappy Hallmark Christmas movies
Ok, I need to taper my list of what I like about Christmas. The one possible exception would be Hallmark Christmas movies. Those are pretty weak.
However, I know many people enjoy watching them, and there definitely are worse shows to watch.
“No need to hide your Hallmark love” gives a good message and actually applies to most generic holiday favorites.
“In God’s economy, there is no such thing as a “guilty pleasure.” As long as something is not evil, immoral, or tempting us toward idolatry, we can receive it as a gift to enjoy from a God who is redeeming all things for His glory.
“Sure, that piece of molten lava cake, brand-new flannel shirt, cup of hot chocolate, piece of apple pie, tickets to see your favorite comedian, Mariah Carey Christmas song, and extravagant decorations on the mantle are nothing any of us “needs.” But they are things to be enjoyed with a heart of gratitude, which is what we actually need more than anything else at this time of the year, or any time of year. And what better apologetic is there than for genuinely joyful people to fight the cynicism of a weary world with the weapons of gratefulness?”